Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Making Room for Conservatives

From The Living Church-

By Christopher Wells

Revision of remarks on the question “Does the Episcopal Church Still Have Room for Conservatives?” made at Virginia Theological Seminary, February 2012; first in a series

I will take the word conservatives in the question posed to mean theological traditionalists, which strikes me as a useful handle. Theological conservatism should be distinguished from various forms of cultural and political conservatism, not least in the contemporary American context; orthodox Christian doctrine, to employ an additional term, does not map perfectly onto any particular party or platform in the secular world, and may depart significantly from the lexicon of our fleeting moment in history. Moreover, theological conservatism admits of degrees and shades, as well as schools. Distinguish, for instance, the traditionally Catholic and evangelical streams within Anglicanism, and their varieties, converging and diverging in one and another time and place.

With that said, let me propose what I take to be a useful hermeneutic for “conservative” self-reflection and -identification, in the form of a thesis: Conservative Episcopalians will, or should, be those who define and approach all things ecclesial in a steadfastly theological way, by asking first about God’s character, his person and promises, his history and the record of his actions, so that all else is tied to, interpreted in light of, and otherwise subjected in obedience to him.

More here-


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