The Anglican Experiment is Over
Here in the United States, the disintegration of the Episcopal Church proceeds apace. Yesterday the (Episcopal) Diocese of South Carolina voted to "distance itself but not completely split from the national Episcopal Church . . . ." Whether this is but a step on the path to association with the break-away Anglican Church in North America remains to be seen.
It is tempting to say that the troubles of Anglicanism stem from the abiding Protestant sin of pride. Since Luther and Calvin -- and Cranmer -- took it upon themselves to redefine Christian doctrine so as to conform more closely to their own thoughts and purposes, it has always been so. Every man free and entitled to follow his own "conscience," to define his own orthodoxy, to found his own church -- unless, of course, he is so unfortunate as to find himself at odds with Calvin -- or Cranmer -- and to fall into their conciencious hands, in which case the pyre may be lit. While it clangs on our modern ears, schooled by The World's Church of What's Happenin' Now, where individual conscience replaces submission, atomism follows.
But that, we think, is not the problem. While it is the mechanism by which Anglicanism will continue to tear itself to shreds, it is not the cause. The cause is faithless shepherds, wolves in the fold. From the dithering Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, to the worldly "progressive" Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the flock is led away from eternal life and into The World. A Christian not at war with the world is not doing it right. Rejected by those they had thought to be faithful shepherds, individual Anglicans mill about, rightly frightened, longing for the protection of the Good Shepherd. But infected by the deadly virus of Luther and Calvin -- and Cranmer -- they take refuge amongst a remnant of their own, huddle together, conduct a vote (how progressive!) and appoint one of their own as shepherd.
It is a scandal.