Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Akinola Back to the Usual

Whilst Orombi and Venables were busy telling everyone who qualified to be Christian and who did not, they at least were trying to say that the bust, divided communion could be so recognised in a spirit of love.

Now I'm not sure quite what spirit of love involves telling people who differ (but who agree on the big issues including the centrality of Christ) that they are not Christian.

However, if there was any doubt about it, the activists around Big Pete have joined in so that he sends A Wake up Call to the People of God, an Open Letter from Archbishop Akinola to Archbishop Williams and two supporting documents are produced that try to pin heresies on United States and Canadian Anglican clergy. So the spirit of combat is restored.

So what if the Presiding Bishop said she leaves it to God to decide whether the Dalai Lama and Gandhi are saved by God, or a speculation that in this globe of difference there might be other ways towards salvation, in the sense that Christianity understands salvation. They do a trawl through her words and of many others, and fewer pages are constructed about Canada.

The doctrinal and liturgical basis of The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada remains the same. So what if individuals show variations? After all, so do theological colleges. Are Churches to be education free zones?

The same can be done in England, Scotland and Wales - pinning statements on leaders and others that vary from official dogma. It can be done anywhere on to those who bother to handle theology. After all their theological darling James I. Packer was having a go at Paul Tillich last year, Paul Tillich being someone who preserved christology and Christian correlation of answers to existential questions. These theologians are not out of order.

Churches have to engage with culture. I wish they were far more open theologically and did not generate this dualism of official stances and private opinions. It's unhealthy and dishonest, but in giving private views an attempt is made to be less dishonest - and for that the Nigerian thought police are active, as are its puppetmasters in the Conservative Evangelical corners of the United States and England working on their first targets in the United States and Canada.

2 comments:

Fred Schwartz said...

It is about power, ego, property and who gets to sit in the big chair.

Erika Baker said...

"Churches have to engage with culture. I wish they were far more open theologically and did not generate this dualism of official stances and private opinions"

Amen to that!

I think it comes back to the mix of people who are attracted to faith. There are those who need certainty and it is quite possible to use faith as a security blanket. But it does mean you have to shut out questioning and the possibility of other views.

Then there are those who need the inner certainty of God to explore what life means. They can hold on to the core but can otherwise drift into very fragmented theologies and philosophies.

The interesting question is whether the current church approach manages to hold the two sides in tension, or whether a more honest approach by the church could even bring them closer together.