Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Defining the church?

No time to post today, but if you have time, check out this post on "When the church is no longer the church" at Conciliar Anglican. I like a phrase in the essay which (lifted out of context) is this:

"because Anglicanism offers the pure Gospel, without anything being added or taken away".


Father Ron Smith said...

The post you have here recommended is of very mixed value - with regard to pointing the way to 'orthodoxy' in various Churches purporting to be a part of Anglicanism.

The host of the blog 'Conciliar Anglican (Fr. Jonathan) obviously has a problem with the liberal ethos of TEC, As what I would call a conservative Anglo-Catholic, Father Jonathan is, at the moment, seemingly willing to stay with TEC, but is waiting to see whether TEC's future polity will move any further from what he sees as foundational principles for classic Anglicanism.

I think that Fr.Jonathan might not be entirely happy with the ethos of women in ministry, and that this may be a small part of his present dis-satisfaction with TEC.

The fact that he is willing, at this point in time, to stay loyal to his original Church body, does him credit, I feel.

Fr. J said...

Thanks for the link, Peter!

Father Ron,

Thank you for reading my post. I would not call myself a conservative Anglo-Catholic. I would prefer to call myself a classical Anglican and to leave it at that, but if pressed I will sometimes admit to being a High Churchman, again in the classical sense.

Also, I do not object to the ordination of women. I have served both with and under ordained women. I do not think any of the traditional arguments against the ordination of women hold water. But at the same time, I accept that my position on this is somewhat novel, the ordination of women only having existed for a few decades, and so I very well could be wrong about the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that among Evangelical/Pentecostal type churches women in ordained ministry has been a fact in many churches since the mid 19th century. In the early part of the 20th century many women were prominent in the Fundamentalist movement as leaders.

Of course this has not always been a consistent approach, and is due in part to a different theology of ordination than in classical episcopal churches.

As someone who is Reformed-Evangelical-Charismatic in my theology I would be considered as deeply conservative by some, and in fact I have something of a reputation here at St John's college as being the resident troublemaking fundamentalist! Yet I see no clear Biblical teaching opposing women as ordained ministers. The various Pauline injunctions about women in worship seem obviously (to me at least) to be about other issues, and not blanket injunctions against women in ordained leadership. Specifically Paul was responding to the influence of certain Pagan notions that were disrupting worship, especially in urban centers that were heavily influenced by Pagan Goddess cults.

Churches must define themselves and the boundaries of legitimate doctrine and practice. While there can be some diversity, there cannot be anarchy.

It seems to me that TEC has simply lost the plot. Hearing TEC leaders talk, and sadly some New Zealand Anglicans as well, I am often struck by the sense that I am listening, not to a different view of the Christian Faith, but to an entirely different religion, one which often sounds like a mixture of New Age spirituality, Gaia worship, and theological Marxism.

When does a church stop being Christian in any basic orthodox sense? This is for individual denominations to decide for themselves, but decide they must, one way or another. And I think parts of TEC have moved well beyond the bounds of orthodoxy. When someone with the theological views of John Spong can become a Bishop, something has gone very wrong.

Father Ron Smith said...

Shawn, I'm glad you have the opportunity of training at Saint John's College (my alma mater). Please do take best advantage of the wisdom that will be imparted to you there. Listen to the lecturers, and try to imbibe what they may be saying - not just to you, but to the whole class of students - for whom this may be the only chance they'll get to learn what theology is all about.

Don't do too much on-campus preaching of your philosophy, but try to understand what the Gospel says about the poor and the marginalised - and you may just come out of College with a bit more understanding of the Good News - rather than the Bad. You may find real 'orthodoxy' quite challenging!