25 July 2007

To be Anglican means. . . what?

The Archbishop of Canterbury insists that to be Anglican means to be in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, my good friend William G. Witt argues that there is little historical support for such a purely formal and institutional definition: Is it Necessary to be in Communion With Canterbury to be Anglican? Witt instead argues for a biblical, confessional identity for the Anglican Communion, a position he obviously shares with Archbishop Orombi and many others:

If one actually reads [Thomas] Cranmer or [John] Jewel or [Richard] Hooker et al, it becomes quite clear that, as they broke with Rome, they would have had no hesitation to break with Canterbury should Canterbury break with the doctrines and practices which encapsulate the gospel--because the identity of Anglicanism does not lie in communion with an historic see, but in doctrines and practices that adhere to the gospel. . . . If Canterbury's dallying leads to the split of the Communion, and Canterbury aligns itself with those who have abandoned historic Anglican doctrines and practices (and Christian faith), then necessarily, but paradoxically, in order to remain Christian, Anglicanism will mean being in communion with those provinces that continue historic Anglican doctrines and practices and not with Canterbury.

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