Tuesday, July 19, 2005

++cantuar on john spong

This is from the Church Times (1998) by way of John Mark Ministries and t1:9. The whole thing is well worth the read. It has only become more pertinent in the ensuing seven or so years.

Of course the parameters of ethical understanding shift: but the shifts in Christian ethics on, for example, slavery, usury and contraception, have had to argue long and hard to establish that they are in some way drawing out an entailment of what is there, or honouring some fundamental principle in what is there. In other words, these changes in convention have had to show a responsibility to certain principles that continue to identify this kind of talk as still recognisably Christian talk.

This, by the way, is what I take to be more or less entirely absent from ECUSA's efforts to justify its actions: an engagement with the Tradition. If someone would engage compellingly with the Tradition, who knows? A Brave New World of Christian possibility might open up. That's what has tended to happen, through the centuries, with new theological paradigms which the Church has received.


J-Tron said...

Not sure how this relates directly to Jack Spong (other than the fact that he frequently says things that are way outside the bounds of what most of us would label Christianity), but I agree with your basic premise. Tradition needs to be engaged by the modern Church, on a variety of issues, including human sexuality. Currently, I feel that the engagement with scripture is starting to gain more light, but the engagement with tradition is still lagging. While I hold with the Anglican divines that tradition is a means by which we better understand revelation in scripture, I still think that this could be improved. This is true not just in ECUSA, though, but in most of the Anglican world. Much of African Christianity, for instance, is a hodge podge of evangelical ecumenism. Anglicanism blends right into this mix. And in Europe, where more churches are dying than thriving, the desire to consume Anglicanism once and for all into the Protestant melting pot is stronger than ever within Anglicanism.

Anonymous said...

By the by..."If someone would engage compellingly with Jesus Christ, who knows? A Brave New World of Christian possibility might open up." The connection ought to be made in this that, once again, the magnificent Tradition exists in order to bring us to Christ and to prevent the Church which He founded from a decadent, spiritual auto-eroticism. We are engaged to Him. The Tradition keeps us there.