Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Communion Worth a Bath?

Derek Olsen is out tipping over modernist sacred cows again, this time in a three part attack on the latest ECUSA liturgical innovation, Communion Without Baptism (or CWOB, if you like). (Read part 1, part 2, and part 3.) You can read the postgame show here.

I would say the most succinct response came from Benjamin Guyer:
If I may propose that your problem – your frustration – is the same as those which many of the rest of us have: trying to hold theologically serious conversation within the Episcopal Church (USA) is simply impossible. “Radical openness” is not a theology, but a flight from intellectual rigor, just as it is a flight from genuine political engagement and genuine moral commitment. It is, in other words, an “anything goes” system.
But I am also beginning to consider that there is another, more malign element here. I suspect that one reason why CWOB is being pushed is precisely because it is offensive to people who have theological standards, and especially traditionalists. Set beside the theological laxity has been a program of increasing political rigor: we are not allowed to hold anyone to any traditional theological standard, but we can't leave either, at least not without abandoning everything. I have to suspect that the time will come when clerics can be disciplined for refusing communion to unbelievers. But then, after all, only Pharisaic right wingers would ever do that.

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