ecumenism

September 26, 2007

another post related to my experience from looking at episciopal blogs (particularly Father Jake’s  who, even though I disagree with him theologically, is a pretty level-headed guy I must say)

There is a lot of problems in the Anglican Communion. A lot. Because of the differences in theology between the conservative, global south and the liberal west (I think that is an accurate geographical split) who both consider the other to have strayed away from true Christianity, there may be a schism. Both sides are beginning to feel like staying in Communion with one another is not worth it anymore.

I will agree, the tension is definitely there, and perhaps there is legitimacy to seeing a brother who will not repent of their sins and leaving them. But I wonder how far the separation needs to go.

Do we ever excommunicate a brother and leave him to his own ways forever, or does there have to be some sort of general sense of communion to make sure that he knows that we still love him? I fear that an actual split between the factions will not help in our attempt at Christian unity, but instead take a step backwards.

I see far too many churches in the evangelical tradition splitting and starting up new churches for the most ridiculous of reasons. Church plants are one thing, but how many churches are there that have no accountability to anyone; no relationship with any other church? How is there any expectation of unity within the church when there are estimated to be over 20000 Christian denominations in the world? Add to that the number of churches which claim to not be part of any larger group. How do we teach about the universal Church,  when we make no attempts to make our church universal?

I am not saying everyone forsake their differences and hold hands and sing kum-bay-ya, but there has to be some sort of steps taken to unity. And sometimes that unity is going to require us to be in dialogue with people who believe very different things.

So would I be happy if the Anglican Communion split? I don’t know. I think the best opportunity is for there to be actual conversation between the sides, but I wonder if that ship has sailed.

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