Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Father Jones on Diversity in the Anglican Communion

My second post on this blog raised the issue of why the Anglican Communion is about to schism over the issue of same sex relationships. This is obviously a very important issue to the lives of worshippers in the Communion, but as I argued in my post, the Anglican Communion has tolerated diversity on far more critical issues of faith. Father Greg Jones of the Anglican Centrist blog makes the same argument, albeit with far more authority and learning than my humble second post, in responding to the claim by Nigerian Archbishop Akinola that the issue of same sex relationships is worth dividing the Church over:

"In another place, Archbishop Akinola asserts as a matter of principle that issues like this one are worth dividing the Church over -- because, he says, "two cannot go together except if they agree." He asserts this principle -- as if it were well-known and long-operative in Anglicanism. But, in fact, it isn't and hasn't been.

"For nearly five centuries now Anglicans have been defined by their willingness to stick together in worship, sacrament and ministry despite radical and deep disagreement on theological and moral issues.

"For example, since the 16th century, Anglicans have disagreed to a greater or lesser extent over the question of baptismal regeneration.

"Some Anglicans believe that the sacrament of baptism alone does not assure salvation or represent 'new birth' into Christ. (Even though the early Church and the Prayer Book have always said it does.) Amazingly, while this may properly be seen as a question of eternal significance, the Anglican Communion is not threatened by widespread disagreement. Clearly, two have walked together who do not agree -- for a long time, on many points."

The entire post is well worth reading for a host of reasons, including Father Jones' analysis of bibical authority. Read it all (the post is entitled "Anglican Centrist 16 -- Comment on the Primate of Nigeria's Theology ")

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