2.8.08

The indaba must go on but...

...this, I found useful on what Anglican identity is made up of - there's lots more in the original - Lambeth reflections on their site:

As Anglicans we acknowledge the joy of engaging with the scriptures in setting forth the authentic proclamation of God’s Word. We are attentive to scripture in our worship, prayer and study, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that scripture may form us and shape our worship, our doctrine and our community life. We believe the scriptures to be primary and we read them informed by tradition and reason and with regard for the cultural context. We value the place of biblical scholarship as a critical tool, recognising nevertheless that this leads to divergent interpretations across our many and varied contexts, and of listening to our sister churches as they interpret the same scriptures. The over-arching issue with which we wrestle in relation to the scriptures is the interpretation of the Bible in our ongoing life...

Christian worship involves encountering the mystery of God and participating in the life of the Trinity. We delight to meet Christ in word and sacrament. The sacraments of Baptism, whereby we are joined to Christ, and the Eucharist, where we are nourished by his body and blood, bind us together in unity. The Anglican approach to worship places a high value on common structure, common prayer and a common lectionary, sharing the scriptures, across the Communion, while at the same time encouraging local freedom, and inculturation. We are committed to praying for one another and we want to deepen that fellowship of prayer and intercession. As Anglicans, we recognise the relationship between liturgy and doctrine - worship shapes belief - and between worship and mission - worship energises mission. We particularly need to be reminded of our evangelistic context and to seek worship that engages with youth cultures and with children.

We have inherited and hold firmly to the pattern of the three-fold ministry of bishop, priest and deacon, which guarantees our historical continuity and unites us with the many churches who hold to this order. There is a strong view that an important part of the way forward in deepening our communion is (a) in the development of person to person relationships, (b) in diocesan partnerships and (c) in recovering our sense of belonging and mutual affection. At the same time we recognise that the variety of provincial order - the different polities of our churches - can produce misunderstandings and confusions that need to be understood and addressed. We need to acknowledge that the whole is more than the sum of the parts and that each part of the Communion, when it acts, must do so in the knowledge of what it means for the whole.

For Anglicans, the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds are understood to be faithful and sufficient statements of the essentials of the biblical witness as revealed by the power of the Holy Spirit to us and to the whole church in every generation. We acknowledge the full reliability of the texts of the canonical Scriptures given to us by God, and seek to proclaim afresh with clarity and power the full revelation of God in Jesus Christ. From this strong sense of biblical reliability the Church derives norms of moral and ethical life that are to be honoured by the whole of the Body of Christ; at the same time we discover biblically faithful means to respond pastorally to those who are unable to observe such norms. When serious disagreements arise among us about moral and ethical norms we are called to intensify our efforts to discover God’s Word through continuing scriptural discernment. We rejoice in the Holy Scriptures as God’s gift to the whole church for teaching and guidance, admonition, and pastoral care. In the Anglican prayer book tradition, the following collect, composed by Archbishop Cranmer, sets a proper framework for our understanding of the Holy Scriptures ...in the lives of all God’s faithful people.

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. Praying this collect reminds us that an Anglican approach to Scripture honours the sacred texts as inspired and revealed by God while inviting us to use the resources of the human intellect to interpret and apply those texts for making faithful disciples and for the deepening of holy lives worthy of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Utilizing the God-given gifts of reason and tradition as resources for the interpretation of the Scriptures enables the fullest possible exploration of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) and calls to mind the unfathomable depths and richness of the ways of God (Romans 11:33). Biblical interpretation is the work of reverent inquiry that approaches the Holy Scriptures in a spirit of awe and wonder as holy writings different from all other texts.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.