Sunday, August 10, 2008

An Anglican Down Under Theologian writes

Bryden Black, Anglican priest of Christchurch Aotearoa NZ has been published on Global South (and subsidiarily on Titus One Nine). Here's an excerpt, the whole worth not only reading but marking and digesting:

"If the Church has felt it necessary to anathematise certain G/gospels derived from non Nicene understandings of deity, then mutatis mutandis why should the Anglican Communion be predisposed to endless debate - “keeping the questions alive” - regarding the significance of human being created in the image of the Triune God? For surely, when it comes to “essential questions”, an aspect of God’s mercy and kindness is that we humans have neither been kept in the dark nor “as orphans” (Jn 14), but God has come among us with sufficient “perspicuity”. True; to “the crowds” much remains in parable and riddles (Mark 4, Matt 13). Yet for those who have been gathered around Jesus, a community of acknowledged insight and faithful interpretation has grown and developed. Surely therefore the onus of proof is ever on those who seek to legitimise new beliefs and practices contrary to these traditions of learned discernment."

For me this underlines the need to explore what questions in the current controversy can be ended quickly and what cannot. My own sense is that we need engagement with explicit theological differences in our midst - the anti-Nicene elements in TEC, for example - and move through Primates and ACC to some decisions "now". But some elements of pastoralia may not settle so easily. Suppose, for example, conservatives were willing to engage with forms of support for stable etc same sex partnerships which fell short of synodically authorised liturgies, could that discussion be done and dusted in a short time? There are many pitfalls, and many suspicions when these matters are advanced, and no guarantees that there will not be retreats!

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