Sunday, July 6, 2008

A. M. Ramsey on Anglicanism

John Downey at the cathedral in Erie and I have been exchanging emails on the subject of purity and unity in Anglicanism. John's point is unless we take the view that one church is right and therefore the others are wrong or deficient, then this (Anglican) ecclesiology has a continuing witness and vocation until unity is completed by God's grace. I think he's right and if one builds a church based on theological purity there is a risk of a certain self-righteous exclusivity. It's not that doctrine is unimportant but we have to acknowledge that its unlikely that any church or individual has it all right. As I once heard Paul Zahl say, "We're going to be surprised at who's in heaven when we get there".

John also sent me this quote from Michael Ramsey (Written before he was Archbisop of Canterbury).

For while the Anglican church is vindicated by its place in history, with a strikingly balanced witness to Gospel and Church and sound learning, its greater vindication lies in its pointing through its own history to something of which it is a fragment. Its credentials are its incompleteness, with the tension and travail in its soul. It is clumsy and untidy, it baffles neatness and logic. For it is sent not to commend itself as 'the best type of Christianity,' but by its very brokenness to point to the universal Church wherein all have died.

The Gospel and the Catholic Church 1936 Chapter 13 page 220

This is a wonderful book which I read years ago and plan on rereading soon. It's out of print but Amazon has used ones. Thanks John for the thoughts and the quote.

If anyone else has quotes about the nature of Anglicanism send them in and I'll post them as well.

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