Saturday, June 12, 2010
If the Spirit is at work in the Communion
... then perhaps we should only claim this much is true about what the Holy Spirit is doing in our midst:
(1) Working with us on what it means to be a Communion.
Probing us with questions about whether we are a fellowship, a church, or something more than a fellowship and less than a church, if the Spirit is at work in our midst, then we are being worked on through this first part of the twenty-first century towards an answer agreed across the Communion.
(2) Facing us with the question how we know and how we determine that we know what is the leading of the Spirit into all truth.
If there is a one significant issue present in the exchange of letters between the Presiding Bishop of TEC and the Archbishop of Canterbury, an issue of the kind that the whole Communion should be engaged by it, it is the question of what is the leading of the Spirit.
If we are a fellowship or a church or something in between, it is the one (and only one) Spirit of God who binds us together as a body of believers in Jesus Christ. The question of how we know what the leading of the Spirit is remains the same question whatever it means to be a Communion.
Nevertheless, historically, the churches of God have tended to resolve questions of what the Spirit is saying to the church in one of two ways: through a single leader (or papacy) or a council (an approach called conciliarity). A hallmark of Anglicanism is eschewing the first way. A great challenge for Anglicanism is embracing the second way. We do this quite well in our member churches (synods and conventions). A great question related to the two posted above is how we might be conciliar as a worldwide something.
The irony of the position espoused by Presiding Bishop Schori, that the Spirit of God is leading TEC into new truth, is that the determination of this leading is primarlily conciliar, through General Convention.
Why not a General Council of Anglicans worldwide to determine the leading of the Spirit?