Friday, August 31, 2007

Fragmentation of the traditionalists

Two voices of conservatism have me wondering if Anglicanism would fly to pieces if conservatives ran show and revisionists were excised from the Communion.

Writing in Church of England News, Andrew Carey writes
Of equal scandal to the theological drift of the Episcopal Church into a kind of uncommitted unitarianism, has been the failure of those who are theologically orthodox to stand firm together in opposing that movement. Individualism and schism has marked the response of American conservatives to their denominational tussles. And I still don’t see how separate Rwandan, Ugandan, Kenyan and Nigerian adventurism on American soil really helps create any kind of solidity around central theological convictions.
Jordan Hylden at First Things goes farther,
And neither will the break be into two groups, one liberal and one conservative. Theological disputes over issues such as women’s ordination and the sacraments (not to mention old nationalistic and racial quarrels) will divide churches even further. Like the rest of Protestantism, Anglicanism will wind up as a confusing and quarrelsome alphabet soup.
And he writes of "Conservative divisions, which have become manifest in recent disputes over the direction of Bishop Duncan’s 'Network'."

Hylden is predicting what the fallout would be if the Episcopal Church does not conform or is not disciplined. Are the conservatives really so divided and undisciplined that without The Episcopal Church to kick around they would go after each other? Can Anglicanism really afford to go without the glue that the Episcopal Church provides? Who will be the first to go and start the unraveling?

Who thinks they possess the truth? Each of them does of course, rather than the alternative which is that each of us possesses a piece of the truth to share which the other. And certainty over the authority of scripture and over doctrine breeds contempt. Which leads, Chris Sugden not to revolution but to schism.

As Graham Kings writes from Fulcrum/Renewing the Evangelical Centre,
These consecrations seem to me to follow a 'Federal Conservative' model of the Anglican Communion rather than a 'Communion Conservative' model.

The supreme irony of this is that they put a higher priority on 'independence' over 'interdependence' just at the crucial time that the model of 'interdependence' is being pressed on The Episcopal Church and its House of Bishops.

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