Monday, November 26, 2007

Reformation in the Anglican Church?

On November 23rd, the "Anglican Network in Canada" was announced. It will be separated from the Anglican Church of Canada which many members are intending to dissociate from. This was covered by the National Post, AFP, Canadian Christianity and many others. Dr JI Packer gave a presentation at the launch. The reasons for such a move is quite similar to the 2002 situation where Dr Packer, together with many put a stake in the ground to halt any move towards liberalism in the Anglican Church. One of the hottest and most contentious issue has to do with blessings of gay couples in the Church. In the National Post article, the spokesperson said something very stunning:

"The homosexual issue is just the tip of the iceberg," said Cheryl Chang, a board member of the Anglican Network.

"It is what's under the water that is more critical to us. The liberals see the Bible as a book that can be changed and interpreted, and conservatives see it as unchangeable through generations. And those are simply irreconcilable views."
Two prominent bishops have realigned themselves with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone, which oversees most South American Anglicans.

The Anglican Church hit back at this splinter group accusing them of schism, and at the same time threatening to keep existing property and assets from anyone who leaves the Communion. They also accused the South Americans for cross-continental interference into Canadian religious jurisdiction. The Anglican Network defended themselves as follows:
We are not leaving anything. It's actually the Anglican Church of Canada that is leaving Anglicanism. On that basis, should parishes choose to join new structure under the Southern Cone, we will not see that as a leaving, but as a staying, and we intend to defend that position.
Incidentally, last Sunday's message in the church I attend, happens to use the same argument with respect to the South American act of 'interference.' Essentially the argument is something like, Why is the Anglican leadership concerned with trying to keep 600 years of Anglicanism together when they have failed be faithful to the gospel that is 2000 years old! (sic)

I think he is right. What good is salt if it is not salty anymore? If the gospel can be easily whittled down according to all kinds of interpretations and misinterpretations, and selected on the basis of unity, is that really 'good news?' No, it sounds more like good playdol.

I choose to have no part in that. The gospel alone has the power to change lives. Should we shape (twist) the gospel in order to cater to people's perceived needs? OR Should we bring the people to the Word, and let the Word shines through?

Here is a metaphor. Natural foods are definitely better than processed substance. Processed stuff may have a longer shelf life due to artificial preservatives. It may even taste better upfront. In the long run, it is deadly.

I love my Anglican brothers and sisters in Christ, and I have no doubts that there are faithful people to the gospel within the Anglican Church now, no matter how liberal it may be. Whatever the disputes or disagreements, I pray that love be manifested throughout. Sometimes the most loving way to love is to be brutally honest with one another. This is what is happening now. Or is it too little too late?

1) Why I Walked (Dr JI Packer)
2) More articles by Dr Packer.

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