Thursday, April 30, 2009

From Ian Robinson

Peter Toon was one of the best minds of the Anglican tradition in modern times. Gifted with a very good and well-stocked memory, he was a relentlessly efficient thinker, able to produce everything from scholarly works to comments on issues of the day at a great pace without loss of coherence or depth. He was as near as we have come to a reliable, faithful and reasonable guide to the Christian way in times when it is often obscured.

During his long and debilitating final illness the frequent emails in which he made sometimes daily comments continued almost as before. Characteristically his experience of approaching towards death turned him to the problem of suffering, and how it relates to faith, and his thinking was as clear and profound as ever.

Without pre-empting judgement one may surely hope for Peter to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

It is harder for those of us still in the field that this shepherd is taken from us in his intellectual prime, though Peter would have been the first to remind us of “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Ian Robinson
The Brynmill Press and Edgeways Books

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From The Rev. Ed Hird

Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Dr Peter Toon came many times to Canada. As he was living in Seattle and attending St Lukes' Seattle with the Rev. Dr John Roddam, Dr Toon was able to visit a number of times to Vancouver BC. I remember once when Dr Toon was about to speak at St John's Shaughnessy to the faithful embattled Anglicans in BC. Dr. JI Packer introduced him, saying how much he was looking forward to hearing Dr. Toon, and ended by saying in childlike joy and with a twinkle in his eye: 'goody'. ;)

I also remember meeting Dr. Toon a number of times at the AMiA Conferences, which shows his true catholicity in embracing faithful Anglicans from different streams. While Dr. Toon 'enjoyed' a good debate, there was an overall graciousness and breadth to Dr. Toon that I fondly remember. His work on the recent 'Anglican Prayer Book', sponsored by AMiA and used now by many, is a good example of that graciousness and scholarship.

Ed Hird+

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

From Bill Fishburne

Dr. Toon's work enriched our spiritual lives through the many notes he authored that appeared in these pages. He will be greatly missed.

Bill Fishburne

Into thy hands, O merciful Saviour, we commend the soul of thy servant, Peter, now departed from the body. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech thee, a sheep of thine own fold, a lamb of thine own flock, a sinner of thine own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of thy mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the Saints in light. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen,

Rest eternal grant unto him O Lord,
And let light perpetual shine upon him
May he rest in peace. Amen

From The Rev'd. Dr. John Roddam

Our parish was privileged to stand in prayer with you in this season. Peter spoke encouragement to our parish family that blessed us and endeared us to him. Peter's heart for Reformed Catholicism and passion for the Word of God were profound. He has left a legacy with the Prayer Book Society and beyond that offers hope in a morass of confusion within the Anglican Family.

Peter was a wonderful mentor to many church leaders. He greatly blessed me with practical pastoral wisdom. He also demonstrated gracious conversation with those with whom he differed. My life has been enriched by the Toons!

Know that Holly and I, with our St. Luke's parish family, pray for God's comfort and strength for you and your family at this time. God Bless!


Iesus, tanto nomini nullum par elogium!
Jesus, for so great a name, no praise is adequate!

The Rev'd. Dr. John Roddam,
St. Luke's Episcopal Church,
Seattle, WA

Monday, April 27, 2009

From The Reverend Dr. David Wheaton

Peter joined the staff of Oak Hill College in Southgate, North London in 1976 from Latimer House in Oxford, where he had been working alongside Dr. James Packer at the Anglican Evangelical research centre. At that time the College was negotiating with the Council for National Academic Awards with a view to being able to set up its own courses with a greater Biblical and pastoral emphasis than was to be found in the syllabi current in the General Ordination Examination or the Diploma and Degree courses offered externally by London University.

Peter's academic prowess gave greater credibility to the College in the eyes of the CNAA. The College's official history (Witness to the Word published by Paternoster Press in 2002) records that he instilled in students his own deep appreciation of the Anglican heritage, and was never satisfied with facile, poorly thought-out answers. He was always ready to challenge his colleagues as well as his students to think more deeply. The College community also valued having Vita and Deborah living on site as part of the College community.

Yours in Christ,

The Reverend Dr. David Wheaton,
former Principle Oak Hill Theological College, London, UK,
Honorary Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen,
Canon Emeritus of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban

From Dr Richard Pierard

It is with great sadness that I read the message of Peter Toon's passing.

I had first met Peter in England in the early 1970s when he allowed me to speak in his church, and we had visited in each other's homes on subsequent occasions. To be sure, we travelled along different paths ecclesiologically, in that he was an Anglican and I am American Baptist, and we worked in different periods of church history. But I always appreciated Peter's good spirit and commitment to the historic Christian faith which we shared. It is hard to believe that he is no longer with us, but his memory lives on. I convey my sympathies to his wife and family members, and remain encouraged by that hope that we shall see one another against in that glorious resurrection day.


Richard Pierard

Dr. Richard and Charlene Pierard, Professor of History Emeritus, Indiana State University and Gordon College

From The Rev'd Canon Dr Gavin Ashenden

Peter meant a very good deal to me - and to many of those he taught.

We immediately recognised him as an individual thinker of considerable authenticity and standing.

He was both a source of inspiration and also of liberation to us as we tried to offer our minds as well as our hearts to our dear Lord.

Peter opened so many windows for us. He inculcated an attitude that was at one and the same time wholly reverential, and also unafraid to look for that angle of integrity. He encouraged us to think, and explore, to dismantle and rebuild, but unlike so many intellectuals, this was nothing to do with the ego, and everything to do with service for the kingdom and the Gospel.

We recognised how much he knew - and how far he had travelled. We became unafraid to flex our intellectual muscles since Peter set us an example of how that could be done in a way that was thoroughly Godly, faithful and constructive.

In the last few years, Peter's was the voice I looked to for a proper and dependable interpretation of what was happening in the American Church.

My loss will be nothing compared to yours, but I feel it keenly nonetheless.

A world that lacks Peter, lacks an element of intelligent compassionate insight it can ill afford to lose.

A Church that lacks Peter, is so much the poorer for he takes his integrity with him, and there is too little left behind.

He was generous in the way he honoured us with his friendship, and I am profoundly grateful and blessed for having known him, and been trained to serve our Lord's Church by him.

"All shall be amen and alleuluia.
There we shall rest and we shall see;
we shall see and we shall love;
we shall love and we shall praise.
Behold what shall be in the End and shall not end."

St Augustine of Hippo.

The Rev'd Canon Dr Gavin Ashenden,

Chaplain and Lecturer in Humanities,
The University of Sussex.

Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Death of Dr. Peter Toon Saturday April 25, 2009

Dr. Peter Toon, priest and theologian, passed away on the evening of the feast of St Mark the Evangelist, in San Diego, California, where he and his wife have resided for the last months. He will be sorely missed by all those who love the Anglican Way. Dr. Toon has been, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most vocal and prolific defender of the theology of the Anglican Reformation and the traditional Book of Common Prayer over the last decades. The absence of his voice on so many issues facing the church today will be an irreparable loss. Clarity of mind, depth of knowledge, and vigor of presentation marked his work, making his arguments both distinctive and convincing. An evangelist like St Mark, he was a lion of the faith.

During the last year, Dr. Toon has been suffering from a rare disease called amyloidosis. Diagnosed last spring, he underwent various treatments that were intended to slow the progress of the disease. Sadly, the disease was stronger than the medications, and we have lost him sooner than was hoped.

At the end Dr. Toon was attended by Fr Tony Noble, rector of All Saints' Episcopal Church, San Diego. Over the last weeks they have prayed together with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and his final words to Fr Noble were to the praise of God who he has served and loved so well. In his last hours, Fr Noble prayed with Dr. Toon the commendatory prayer.

O Almighty God, with whom do live the spirits of just men made perfect, after they are delivered from their earthly prisons: We humbly commend the soul of this thy servant,our dear brother, into thy hands, as into the hands of a faithful Creator, and most merciful Saviour; most humbly beseeching thee that it may be precious in they sight. Wash it, we pray thee, in the blood of that immaculate Lamb, that was slain to take away the sins of the world; that whatsoever defilements it may have contracted in the midst of this miserable and naughty world, through the lusts of the flesh or the wiles of Satan, being purged and done away, it may be presented pure and without spot before thee. And teach us who survive, in this and other like daily spectacles of mortality, to see how frail and uncertain our own condition is; and so to number our days, that we may seriously apply our hearts to that holy and heavenly wisdom, whilst we live here, which may in the end bring us to life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, thine only Son our Lord. Amen.

May light perpetual shine up on Dr. Toon. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.

Dr. Roberta Bayer
The Prayer Book Society of the United States of America

The Prayer Book Society will hold a memorial service at All Saints' Episcopal Church, San Diego, California, at a future date.

Obituary of Dr Peter Toon

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reflections on Holy Saturday near to its doctrinal themes.

In the west of the U.S.A. there seems to be a running together of the Christian Burial Office and a general funeral. This has been encouraged by the caring, therapeutic, hospital, and funeral directors, in the context of a secularized culture. Practically, it means that death is the culmination of a period of being kept without pain and in as much comfort as possible with the promise to some of remission.

Historically and biblically the Burial Office is primarily about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and secondarily about the person who has died because God is the God of the living and the dead. The proclamation is of the Christian hope of the resurrection of the dead and of life everlasting in the perfect Kingdom of God. And the deceased is commended within that living hope. Often a memorial service relating to the buried deceased is held days or weeks after the funeral burial service.

What are the chief features of the Christian Burial Office in the classic Anglican Prayer Books up to the modern era?

1. At the service there is always the body of the deceased unless he has been lost at sea. There can be no burial office without a body. (Today at funeral services such is very uncommon. The presence of a body or cremated remains are very rare, and are usually found in the funeral director’s establishment.)

2. The Burial Office may be held in church followed by interment in a burial ground, or it may take place wholly in a burial ground; or it may begin in the home and end in the burial ground. (The modern funeral is usually only in the church and is a mixed liturgy of burial and memorial.)

3. The natural expression of the mourners is that of the Psalms which were the prayers of Jesus, and these can be said or sung before and after the burial office. (In contrast in modern funerals any preferred music may be used.)

4. Central to the Christian Burial Office is the reading of the hope from the New Testament and no sermon is required for the Scripture is intended to be clear in and of itself. (Sometimes sermons are preached at the Burial Office and seem always to be preached at the modern funeral service.)

5. Also integral to the Christian Burial Office is the Collect which, though longish, sets out the Christian hope with power and clarity.( In contrast, modern Christian funeral substitutes Collects of choice.)

6. Absolutely integral to the Christian Burial Office is the final Commendation where the recognition of the separation of soul and body is acknowledged and both are commended to the care of God until they are reunited as one in the great Resurrection of the Last Day: when all diseases and sicknesses and maladies shall be eliminated everlastingly. (In contrast, for many modern funerals the celebration of the person in this life and this only is in view.)

7. In the Burial Office the service at the graveside must end with the anthem: I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, From henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: even so saith the Spirit; for they rest from their labours.

What a vast difference! And regrettably even as churches have changed their doctrine of Baptism to make it a commitment only to peace and justice in this world, they have changed their final service for Christians by making it into a celebration of life in this world!

Saturday April 11, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Peter Toon