If ever there was a week to feel good about being Anglican it was this week, with the Anglican Communion moving to discipline the wayward American Episcopal Church.
But let’s imagine that things had gone badly. What if the liberals had captured the Anglican Communion last week and got control of everything Anglican?
Some things simply would not change: the gospel would have remained good news. God’s word would still be true in all that it affirms. The Lord Jesus would still be the only way to the Father. His death on the cross would still be enough to save even me.
On the downside, a lot of historic buildings might fall down. Moore College would have to buy a new campus – but we need to do that anyway. And while I don’t go to one of those flagship supposedly-hardline parishes, I’m sure we would leave our buildings and I would be stacking chairs in some school hall each Sunday.
The things that would change under my pewsitter’s nightmare are not the important ones. When ‘we’ve been there ten thousand years’ we won’t remember bricks and mortar.
So let me confess (while the Editor is not looking). I am not really an Anglican.
Sydney Anglican means to me “I am an Anglican in Sydney”. If I lived somewhere else I might be a Presbyterian or get immersed in the Baptists.
It is something in my Christian DNA that I got from my adoptive parents. They grew up in the slummy part of London that Hitler improved. They used to be Anglican – until the local bishop decided that their evangelical church really needed a minister who would dress up, waft incense, and treat communion like a sacrifice. So they became Baptists.
“Go to the nearest church that teaches the Bible that you can put up with” became their motto. I can’t better it.
The great advantage about being Anglican is that there is nothing special about it. There’s no doctrine that is uniquely ours. We are plain vanilla Christians.
So this pewsitter is only pretending to be an Anglican. The strain has become too much, I must confess – but does that make me a catholic? My next column could be in a different paper!
In the last few weeks some people really thought that the Anglican Communion was going to come to a sticky end.
Moore College student and noted blogger David Ould comforted them: “The thing to grasp is that the church is so much bigger than the Anglican Communion. Our unity comes from our common confession that ‘salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the lamb’ not by whether we have appropriate Episcopal oversight”.
To which the pewsitter says “Amen” (if that is not too Anglican).