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Split Imminent

Split Imminent September 23, 2007


The crisis in the Anglican communion is coming to a head.

Mgr Graham Leonard, (the former Anglican Bishop of London) writing in The Path to Rome has said, “There is a realignment occurring between those one the one hand who believe the Christian gospel is revealed by God, is to be heard and received and that its purpose is to enable men and women to obey God in love, and through them for creation itself to be redeemed. On the other hand are those who believe that it can and should be modified and adapted to the cultural and intellectual attitudes and demands of successive generations and indeed originates in them.”

In other words, the choice is between revealed religion or relative religion.

Fr. Leonard spoke these words in 1986, but he was only recognizing what was, until that time, a clouded truth about Protestantism in general. Without a clear authority structure, the non-Catholic ecclesial communities had always been organized on these principles. Many non-Catholics believed (and today still do believe) in revealed religion, but it is increasingly difficult for them to sustain the argument that their denomination follows this revealed religion because they must account for the tens of thousands of other Protestant denominations that claim to be following the revealed religion too.

The most that conservative post-modern Christians can do is claim that they do indeed follow ‘Mere Christianity’ i.e. the historic, revealed Christian faith, but they do so as individuals within a denomination that is provisional, which they belong to for utilitarian and individualistic reasons. If this is their position, they must then ask just what their ‘mere Christianity’ consists of. What are its limits and definitions? They must then ask where they get the authority to decide such boundaries, and the deeper question–“Where did this essential historic faith come from in the first place?”

Thinking non-Catholic Christians must finally ask these basic questions. The questions may not bring them ‘home to Rome’, but they will at least acknowledge that their Christian faith is derived from the fullness of the faith found only in the Catholic Church.

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