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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thoughts on Tanzania

Since every other Anglican blog has naturally been holding forth for the past few weeks about the Primates' meeting in Tanzania, and since I'm trying to get back into blogging, here are my thoughts:

I am encouraged by the fact that the Anglican Communion appears to be holding together and that it is moving toward some kind of structure of authority and accountability. But I can't get away from the question raised by liberals on the one hand and Catholics on the other: on what basis does the Anglican Communion claim authority to decide controversial questions? We aren't the Church Universal. We are an incidental outgrowth of the British Empire. Not that God couldn't use the British Empire to form His Church (one could, after all, describe Catholicism--that is, historic Christianity excluding the Nestorians and Monophysites--as an outgrowth of the Roman Empire). But we don't claim to be the Church.

So while it's good that we're struggling toward being Church, soberly we know that we are at best one fragment of the Church. In other words, I can't really take much comfort from the victory of "my" side--if we are really winning--not only because I have become increasingly sensitive to the pain that such a victory would bring to the "losers," but also because the controversy itself awakens the basic ecclesiological doubts that gnaw at me as an Anglican.

And, of course, it's quite possible that the communique won't mean much anyway.

1 comment:

rr1213 said...

Yet, considering the nature of the "basic ecclesiological doubts" you express, how could any decision by the Bishops (other than to seek union with Rome) have been satisfying? As you note, the Anglican Communion does not claim to be the Universal Church, so any theological determination by the Anglican Church either has to be "temporary" until confirmed by the Universal Church or the Anglican Church must resign itself to using a different measuring stick of orthodoxy. The historic Anglican standard of Scripture, Tradition and Reason seems to lead in multiple directions when applied by the various Anglican Bishops in today's world. (And, to be fair, bishops of other Churches as well).