“The Real Anglican Orthodoxy”

Having recently participated in a diocesan discussion on the proposed Anglican Covenant, I continue to come away with two distinct impressions: 1) Episcopalians are deeply committed to the Anglican Communion and mindful of the common heritage, ethos, and missional opportunities we share with the other Provinces of the Communion, but 2) Episcopalians are deeply suspicious of the proposed Covenant, fearing that it changes us (and not for the best) from a autonomous but interconnected family of “national” (read “provincial”) churches into a “global” church similar to the Church of Rome.

This has been said before, but I am increasingly convinced of it: we are much more like the international family of Orthodox churches. Regularly we hear that the three largest Christian bodies in the world are: the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox, and the Anglicans (followed closely by the Lutheran World Federation) . And, while the Roman Church is certainly structurally (if not always functionally) “one church,” the Orthodox (and Lutherans) certainly are not.

Besides the major theological differences still impairing communion between the Eastern and so-called “Oriental” Orthodox churches, there are stresses and strains between the sometimes fiercely nationalistic churches of the East as well. Certainly, the Orthodox share a basic, underlying theology, but there are subtle and not-so-subtle differences which keep them from even attempting, or wanting, to be a “global church” in the way that the Roman Catholic Church is.

Yet, no one doubts that there is a recognizable “Orthodox” family of churches which, like us, share “a common heritage, ethos, and missional opportunities” together. My sense is that, no matter which way the Anglican Covenant goes — whether 51% of the Provinces sign on and 49% do not, whether a “two tiered” system develops in the Communion or not — there will always be a recognizable Anglican family of Provincial churches, a family which the world will recognize…even if we sometimes do not! 

And that, it seems to me, is good news.


7 Responses to ““The Real Anglican Orthodoxy””

  1. Rev. Shelly Fayette Says:

    This is excellent. Thank you.

  2. rwk Says:

    Does that recognition include ACNA?

  3. Christopher Epting Says:

    You know, I’m beginning to think Yes. Sure, why not?

  4. rwk Says:

    Thank you. From one who considered himself driven out of the Episcopal Church that I was born into and raised in, not merely one who left, I too could certainly live with a situation where the two were parallel but in the same territory. Many traditions have fallen, I will defer on whether that was good or bad, but there is little or no Scriptural warrant for “one bishop/one territory” and that seems a good one to fall as well.

  5. Christopher Epting Says:

    Well, many of us have found ourselves in a church considerably different from the one we grew up in. That can be good or bad depending upon one’s perspective. But I do believe we are in a kind of “new reformation” era where all kinds of boundaries and arrangements are being re-drawn. I, for one, have no idea what the “church of the future” will look like, but have confidence that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and that God will not desert the church. In a time such as this, it seems wise to me to err on the side of charity and allow seeds to germinate and spring up where they will. As in the parable of the wheat and the tares, the final judgment will be up to God, not us. Until then, let us all try to be faithful together.

  6. OlaOluwa S Adeyemi Says:

    what ever the socio-political and theological advernsment God is and will ever be . The inspiration of the bible remains .It is The unchanging Word in the changing world .OlaOluwa S Adeyemi

  7. universityofbridgeport.net Says:

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