In the Reformation, the catalytic issue was the sale of indulgences, but the underlying issue was the authority of the Word of God. Today the catalytic issue has to do with sexuality, but the underlying issue, again, is the authority of the Word of God. So says Matthew Block, Communications Manager for the Lutheran Church-Canada and editor of The Canadian Lutheran. (He comments sometimes here as “Captain Thin”!)
He has written an interesting article about how this is playing out in Canada, specifically in the Anglican Church of that nation, which, as here, has split over the issue. Matthew also notes the new affinity that is being explored between the new conservative Anglican bodies in Canada and the USA and conservative Lutheran church bodies (the LCMS and the LCC).
Matthew also has an interview with J. I. Packer, the evangelical Anglican (I bet a lot of you didn’t know this popular writer is both Anglican and Canadian) whose church was one of the first to break away. Note the distinction he makes between “ecumenism” and the possibilities of “partnership” among “confessing” church bodies: J. I. Packer on Biblical Authority, World Anglicanism, and Ecumenism.
I do like the terminology: “confessing churches” is better than “conservative churches.” “Confessing” means that they confess their faith rather than change or downplay it. We Lutherans speak of being “confessional,” meaning adhering to our Lutheran confessions of faith. I suppose “confessing” can refer to various churches that confess their own various theologies–Anglican, Calvinist, etc.–as opposed to those that have no particular theology.