January 21, 2016

Me and My House

Were I a conciliar Christian, I would no doubt belong to a church that recognized conciliarism as part of its essence — as in the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox traditions. If I wanted to be part of a confessional church, I would join one of those that had a formal confession, such as that of Augsburg or Westminster. But as it is, I am an Anglican. As such I reject the notion that councils can be trusted always to be right in matters even of faith; and accept that confessions are basically just the work of relatively recent councils (or conventicles), and are just as prone to error, as well as being much too much concerned over controversies that later turn out to have been of no lasting importance.

As I say, I'm an Anglican — of the Episcopal sort — a "creedal Christian" if you want to give it a name. I'm happy to read the confessions and reflect on the decisions of councils, but am not hard pressed to adopt either. The doctrinal minimalism of the Anglican tradition — what C. S. Lewis called "mere Christianity" — suits my temperament. I'm able to recite the doctrine of the church every Sunday morning, in the words of the Nicene Creed. (Yes, I realize that was the work of two, count 'em, two Councils. But, as my mother said in her last words on this earth, "That's enough.")

So I'm puzzled by the efforts of some to drag Anglicans into some other form of either conciliar or confessional church. The ones that exist along those lines seem to do quite well, and I think we Anglicans will lose something of value if we seek to become more like one or the other. I had rather we continue as a somewhat rambunctious and not always agreeable family of interrelated national or provincial churches with a common heritage balanced by the freedom for considerable local adaptation. Oh, and the Gospel at the heart.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Mary Clara said...

I confess that when I read the title of this post, I was hoping it would include a photo of you and your house! I trust you are settling in well.

This is quite a clear, homely and succinct statement of how I understand "our house" (the Anglican one) too. (Homely in the sense of comfortable; I am at home with it!) Thank you!

South Side Friar said...

Always thankful for your insights and comments. Being a survivor of many "confessional conflicts" in other traditions, I have come to greatly appreciate the via media of Anglicanism.