Friday, July 24, 2009

Communion with Canterbury

More than a via media, noting views to the contrary, to the left and to the right, makes the point that to be Anglican is to be in communion with Canterbury.

I agree with this point, for this reason. The Anglican church's claim to exist as an expression of God's true and genuine church involves two suppositions. One, that we are a church founded on and faithfully expressing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Two, that we are a church continuous with the church Jesus Christ founded through his apostles. In one phrase, we are a reformed and catholic church. I hope to post on the first supposition soon. The second supposition, cramming a lot of history into a sentence, cannot escape the fact of history that the unification of varying streams of Christianity in the British isles stems from the establishment of the Archbishopric of Canterbury, itself a result of a mission authorised by Rome, one of the leading, if not the leading bishoprics of the undivided church of God. Our continuity with the church Jesus founded runs through the Archbishopric of Canterbury.* To divorce ourselves from Canterbury, whatever reasons presented to justify such a break, is to fundamentally alter the understanding of being 'Anglican' as a church. In fact any such church becomes a 'post Anglican' church.

A post Anglican church may have much to commend it. It may over time survive and the Anglican church wither on the vine. But it will not be an Anglican church as long as it is cut off from its root in the Archbishopric of Canterbury. It is also likely that a post Anglican church will not be united, that is there will be more than one post Anglican church, for, as when first established, so also now, the Archbishopric of Canterbury is a force for unity of Christians in communion with Canterbury.

*Our continuity with the church Jesus founded also (i) runs through the Bishopric of Rome, and (ii) runs through the historic connection between the first British Christians (most likely slaves brought by Roman forces, and soldiers of those forces) and the first Christians of the Mediterranean world. In the first instance that continuity would be strengthened by renewed communion with the Bishop of Rome, which itself would be an obedience to Christ's own wish, ut unum sint. Towards this goal Anglicans have been working, and should continue working, but achievement of that goal requires agreement in terms of the first supposition above, concerning the gospel character of the church.

ADDENDUM: read this post by More than a via media ... for the via media!


Anonymous said...

First of all you should get your facts strait.

The Christian church was NOT founded by Saint Jesus of Galilee.

The Christian church was invented by Paul, and is entirely a religion ABOUT Jesus.

Very few of the words in the New Testament were "spoken" by Jesus---the gospel (fictional) STORIES and some of Acts.

PAUL is the principal character in the New Testament

And modern scholarly research tells us that many of the words attributed to him were most probably not spoken him. That is they were fabricated by others for their own institutional POWER-seeking purposes.

Meanwhile please check out this set of essays which provide a radical (that is going to the root) critique of what is usually called "religion"---especially in 2009

The Anglican church is essentially a very worldly power and control seeking BUSINESS which thus competes with all of the other (religious) businesses for market share.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous.
I may not have my facts straight, but I am reasonably confident that the Anglican church is not a worldly power and control seeking business.
But then, you never know, they may be drugging my coffee at work each day, so I never get to know what is really going on :)