We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


I fear that the very continuation of Christianity is doomed to follow the reinvention of Judaism from a public, temple cult to a private, familial memorial. (In this, at least, it would be a sort of return to origins, from the church to the house.) 'Common prayer' is dead as a public phenomenon: can it survive, surreptitiously, as a private one?

The crux of our problem is, I venture, the tension of stasis versus dunamis. This is an issue Anglicanism confronted at its very beginnings. An important contribution to this question is reflected in the following passage (follow the link to engage the entire, critical article):

But it is essential to recognize that, except for the accounts of the sayings and deeds of the Lord, the tradition cannot in principle be reduced to the New Testament. The structure and practice of a community are logically and really different from the written word. Rules for the interpretation of scripture and brief statements of what is, at least in part, contained but dispersed throughout scripture cannot be reduced to the scriptures they interpret or summarize ... The scripture is the form which represents to the church what is complete for it ... But, it is impossible that the tradition be reduced to scripture.

It follows from this that the dynamic features of the Christian religion belong not to scripture, which becomes fixed, canonical, but to the other constitutive elements: community and tradition.

This troubling thought casts doubt, I fear, on the GAFCON statement, which stripped of its introductory and (concluding) pastoral dimensions, can be focalized as follows:

6. We affirm that the clear teaching of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole, is that marriage is an estate for all people, not just for believers. It is a holy institution, created by God for a man and a woman to live in a covenantal relationship of exclusive and mutual love for each other until they are parted by death. God designed marriage for the well-being of society, for sexual intimacy between a husband and a wife, and for procreation and the nurturing of children (Genesis 2:18-25).

7. We contend that sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex is contrary to God’s design, is offensive to him and reflects a disordering of God’s purposes for complementarity in sexual relations. Like all other morally wrong behaviour, same-sex unions alienate us from God and are liable to incur God’s judgment. We hold these convictions based on the clear teaching of Scripture. We hold them not in order to demean or victimise those who experience same-sex attractions, but in order to guard the sound doctrine of our faith, which also informs our pastoral approach for helping those who struggle with same-sex impulses, attractions and temptations.

8. In this respect, the Church cannot condone same-sex unions as a form of behaviour acceptable to God. To do so would be tampering with the foundation of our faith once for all laid down by the apostles and the prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2: 20-22; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11; Jude 3).

As the article linked above notes, Anglicanism can block women's ordination on the principle of stasis, while Roman Catholicism is necessarily open to the possibility of admitting it (by embracing dunamis). Aber, wer hat Recht?