Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Crucial Test

It's obvious, in the current crisis, that Anglicans are going to have to bite the bullet and pin down what must be believed more than is done now. I suspect that, breft of any conservative restraint, the liberals are eventually going to have trouble maintaining any kind of Christian message, and at worse may find themselves put in the position of the Church of Camp-- at this late date, I feel no qualms at all about calling clown masses "campy".

The Ortho-Romish claim is that the only way to make this "pinning down" work is to indulge in dogmatization. and for a few-- a very few-- issues this is probably OK, as long as the consensus on these is truly universal. Mostly this is only going to keep the Spongs in check, but one has to start somewhere. It's the continuing controversies that pose the greatest risks.

In the present controversy there is no doubt in my mind that the "global south" is going to present to the communion a demand to effectively dogmatize various teachings on marriage and sexuality. This is perhaps putting the cart before the horse, but there's nothing to be done for it. And further still? Well, that's the question, isn't it? If the anglicans can limit dogmatism and continue, what does that mean?

It's possible that everyone will take this as the chance to "reshape" theology to their own taste, and therefore leave us with distinct A-C, Evangelical, Central, and Liberal Anglican communions/churches; and the divisions need not stop there. Emphasis of conformity of doctrine will tend to take us this way, and it will surely be the end of a distinct Anglicanism. The other extreme possibility is that conformity will be limited to the few current hot button issues, and that theological latitude will remain the rule beyond this. In this case, Aglicanism will survive.

At the moment it seems to me that things are extremely unsettled. Both sides in ECUSA seem to be (a) going out of their way to make the situation as volatile as possible, and (b) doing everything they can to make everyone mistrustful who isn't a party in one of the extremes.

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