Sunday, October 05, 2014

To Be In Communion or Not to Be in Communion

That is the question this week for pewsitters all over the world who worship in an Anglican style after three news items appeared which might awaken even the most disconnected Sunday card-puncher.

First the news leaked by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal style church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, that the Lambeth Conference of bishops from throughout the Anglican Communion ain't gonna happen. I think the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, does not want a repeat of the last Lambeth disaster where some bishops refused their invitations and the Episcopal P.B. was told she could not wear her mitre while in ++Welby's jurisdiction. ++Welby may also be confused as to who to invite and who to "not invite", because there is a growing number of bishops out there who claim to be Anglican but who face a powerful group who say that they ain't Anglican.

Imagine inviting a bunch of Jr. High School girls and their cliques together for a party, and you will see the Archbishop's problem.

Secondly, the Archbishop of Canterbury let it slip (Anglican Ink) that he believes that the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is an ecumenical partner and not a member church of the Anglican Communion. That is a big snub to some 100,000 pewsitters many of whom have a better understanding and a higher regard for Anglicanism than some of the bishops currently controlling the Episcopal church.

Last and perhaps least, from the tiny Anglican Church of North West Australia comes this,
"...recognizes the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) as a member church of the Anglican Communion, in full communion with Diocese of North West Australia; rejoices that the orthodox faith is proclaimed in word and deed through ACNA and its member churches;" (Link to StandFirm in Faith post).
Does that make NW Australia an ecumenical partner now?

Identity confusion reigns supreme. You can't host a religious gathering like Lambeth when nobody can agree on who belongs there in the first place.

A few questions raised by all of this can be summarized as follows,
1) What is the definition of an Anglican church?
2) What is the definition of an Anglican?
3) What is the meaning of being in communion with another church?
4) What is the meaning of being in communion with another person?
5) What things should exist in order for a church to be in communion?
6) What things might take a church out of communion? 
7) What things might take a person out of communion? 
8) Who makes the call?
9) Who cares?
Maybe only time will answer the questions. To my mind, the Anglican Communion has been high-jacked by those who are enamored by a revisionist approach to scripture and theology and who will do what ever they can to destroy traditionalists. Today's Gospel reading hints at what might await those who would promote non-traditional sexual morality and try to steal the inheritance from traditionalists.

Jesus said, "Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.' So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time."
Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures:
`The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord's doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes'?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom."
Matthew 21:33-43
In time, those who hold true to the Bible will be given the kingdom and their share in the true Anglican Communion.

++Justin Welby: To be in communion, or not to be--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous traditionalists
Or to take arms against a sea of troublemakers
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep--
To sleep--perchance to dream of union in the communion.

Hamlet was a tragedy too...


  1. Should we be including the ABC in our prayers of the people in ACNA as part of our assumed 'chain of command'?

  2. Pewster,
    Are you saying move him out of the chain of command and pray for him anyway?

    1. I think somebody needs to sit him down and help him reconcile to the fact that he is not a part of the chain of command, and that chain was pretty well broken when he took the helm.

  3. Pewster,
    I think we need to thank the ABC for the clarity.