Skip to comments.(Flashback to 2003) Christian History Corner: Our Brothers and Sisters, the Episcopalians
Posted on 10/18/2005 1:01:04 AM PDT by NZerFromHK
The fast-growing liberal-conservative rift within the Episcopal Church has dominated the headlines of late, along with the rancorous exchanges between liberal Episcopalians and conservatives in world Anglicanism. But who are the Episcopalians? And why does their Church-of-England tradition matter in America?
To understand Episcopalianism, you need to know that it arose from the Church of England, or Anglicanism. Remember? that's the church that divided from Roman Catholicism when Henry VIII needed a quickie divorce. OK, but what are they like? How do they worship? What do they believe?
First impressions of this worldwide communion only confuse: Some Anglicans are into "smells and bells"the whole panoply of high-church worship. Others do without the trappings. Some take their Bibles with a higher-critical grain of salt and focus on social rather than personal modes of ministry. Others are warmly evangelical, kind of like John Wesley and his Methodists (and there were always Anglican members and ministers who were just as evangelical as the Methodistsstay tuned for our Spring 2004 issue on John Newton, the writer of "Amazing Grace"). Apparently, there's a lot of latitude within this world church.
(Excerpt) Read more at christianitytoday.com ...
In particular, these paragraphs merit highlighting:
"From the long perspective, the Episcopal Church's current battle bears real resemblance to a certain stand of General Custer. Evangelicals may tend to take a kind of perverse pleasure from this: "Those liberal so-and-so's are getting what's coming to them." But given Anglicanism's signature values of moderation in religious conflict, willingness to hear and work within the surrounding culture, and nourishment from the historical tradition of the church, more thoughtful Christian observers may wish to delay the party.
We may want to stop and ask, "What will America lose if this venerable church experiences the kind of violent gutting that now seems all but inevitable?"
Alien though their tradition may seem to many conservative Christians, our Episcopal brothers and sisters are part of the body of Christ. And as a church, they may soon be lying by the side of the road, mortally woundedlike the man waylaid in Christ's parable of the Good Samaritan. God help us not to pass them by with a sneer, but to recognize and act on our common bond in Christ."
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A novel perspective - Episcopalianism needs to be preserved because it contributes to that gorgeous mosaic of American theo-diversity. Lol! What is particularly striking is the writer's perspective that high church traditions are exotic - as though syrupy praise songs accompanied by synthesized strings, large screen tv's, excessive hairspray and puppet shows aren't? Does the fact that we went through a period of rebellion against anything that smacked of tradition mean that anything that has been done for more than a hundred years is now more exotic than the latest innovation? Undoubtedly, some worship styles of today will age no better than the leisure suits of the 70's. There is much to be said for tradition - things that stand the test of time.
The author has, through pretensiousness, unwittingly created satire.
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