Monday, 21 July 2008

TAC Seems Set to Succumb to the Tyranny of the Obvious

The crackup of the Anglican Communion is at hand, evangelical bishops attending the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury tell Christianity Today, and to them, the 400-year-old Anglican project appears over. (Timothy C. Morgan, Christianity Today)

I must say I find it nigh unto impossible to disagree. The dissolution of The Anglican Communion (TAC) seems almost inevitable. Our polity presently has no means to deal with the severity of the conflict. The Windsor Report lays out a framework, which could work if something solid were build around it.

Alas the present Lambeth Conference seems committed to being irrepressibly irresolute.

Like all ecclesial communities, TAC has no global adjudicatory authority. That's the unintended but unalterable consequence of Sola Scriptura. Everything is down to private judgement, i.e. the Tyranny of the Obvious: 'The Bible obviously says/means thus-and-so based on such-and-such an interpretation'.

So TAC will in all likelihood split into two or more bodies, each claiming to be the 'true Anglicans'.

The two guys mentioned in the opening CT article are from the Evangelical wing of TAC. They are what one might label 'Conservative Evangelicals'. Liberal - or as they prefer, 'Open' - Evangelicals tend to avoid discussing moral issues. Those are 'matters of personal opinion'. OEs make a great fuss of focussing on one thing that is needful: 'Mission'. The Open Evangelical Message must therefore logically contain no claims about objective moral truth. This might be in keeping with the subjective soteriology of Evangelicalism as such: the 'saved' will subjectively and automatically - or rather, pneumatically - avoid sin.

Of course, there are also self-proclaimed 'Liberal Catholics' who tactitly agree with the 'Open Evangelicals' about avoiding morality, focussing instead on their own sine qua non, 'Social Justice'.

Here's another excerpt from a former colleague's blog, who comes from TAC's 'Conservative Catholic' wing, with whom you might suspect I most identify. The Rev'd Canon Dr John Heidt is a former Rector of the Dallas parish where I was priested. He shall have the last word..
The source of Anglican authority must lie beyond the confines of Anglicanism if we are to survive as an authentic Christian communion of churches. Only two options are open to us. Either we embrace ARCIC's report: The Gift of Authority and move on from there, or else we revert to an individualistic form of Protestantism in which the ultimate source of authority resides in the individual. If we take the former course we shall move further into communion with the whole Catholic Church East and West. But if the latter, what remains of our present "bonds of affection" will degenerate into an uneasy toleration of unacceptable opinions and a pluriformity of contradictory dogmas, a juridical communion with no-one holding universal jurisdiction, a mission with no message to proclaim. (A Question of Authority, hyperlink mine)

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