Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Is Anglican Unity That Important?

That’s a question some are venturing to ask as the Primates of the Anglican Communion are meeting.

My answer is: Yes and No . . . depending on what *that* is. Oh my! I have become a good Anglican, haven’t I.

But there is good unity and bad unity – which really is not real unity at all. Unity among Christians who sincerely confess Jesus is Lord, who believe He died and rose bodily from the dead for us, who believe His word, the scriptures – that’s good unity and the sort Jesus prayed for. But for Christians to be in the same church body with those, especially clergy, whose faith does not include even those basics is not real unity at all. And cohabiting with such counterfeit “Christianity” has been historically and still is corrosive to the church and destructive to souls.

As a number have pointed out, including Brad Drell, there are two religions under the same roof, and there is not nearly enough in common between these religions to justify communion. A number of the Southern Primates clearly consider such communion to be sin, and I agree.

Personally, one reason I became Anglican is that the breath of unity among orthodox Anglicans appealed to me. I like the idea of being in the same church and having communion with, say, a conservative Anglo-Catholic. We may provoke each other when he puts the church in authority over scripture and I insist on keeping the church under the authority of scripture. Our views of just what exactly happens to the sacrament during communion may be different. He will surely be more Marian than me. But we both believe in Jesus as Lord, we both believe the scriptures, and we both contend for the Faith. So he’s my brother and I want us to be in the same church, even if our discussion may get a little . . . vigorous. I think that’s what the church should look like.

But I have no Christian unity with those, especially clergy (I might cut laity a little slack because we are all hopefully seeking and learning.), who are wolves in sheep clothing, posers who hold to the forms and even the vocabulary of the Faith but deny the basics of the Faith, who don’t hold to Jesus as Lord, who deny His bodily resurrection and His word. Pretending such unity is embracing deadly leaven as the apostles warned against. Such faux unity has been killing the mainline churches for decades. I want no part of it.

And it will kill the Anglican Communion if the Primates don’t put a stop to it or least say, “Enough!” Not strongly disciplining the ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada in the name of Anglican unity would be the sort of faux unity that has been the downfall of the mainline churches.

Genuine unity among Christians is a beautiful thing that glorifies God. But there are two religions in the Anglican house. It’s past time we stop pretending otherwise. It’s time to tell that other religion to find other lodging.

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