Sunday, January 28, 2007

Arch Bishop Nazir Ali's Talk

Church of the Household: the emphasis is on likeness. We know that women played a prominent role in supporting and building up the House Church.

Church of the Town: emphasis on unlikeness rather than likeness. Had to develop rules about mixed gatherings.

Churches in Clusters: groups in Asia, Macedonia, Judah etc who knew one another and supported one another. Churches that were mutually interdependent. “Ecclesiology of Anglicans, if it had one, would be Cyprianic.”

Universal Church: the Church described in Ephesians and Colossians. This is not just an assembly but a greater reality.

What happens to this model in the Anglican Dispensation?
The Local Church or church of the Town might be the Parish Church. The Parish gives the church a commitment to the local community. Anglicans have traditionally, in the parish model, been “incarnational” in a good way. Now it has become over emphasized. Then there is the Nation (the church in clusters). During the Reformation people were becoming conscious of the nation-state. Now in Europe they are moving beyond this model.

But what about the church in the home?
And what about the Universal Church?
1. Appeal to Scripture-Christians unite around it.
2. Constant appeal to Antiquity-don’t have to believe in anything the early church didn’t believe.
3. General Council

What now? In Britain we are thinking of ‘Fresh Expressions of Church’ (a new phrase that is becoming worn out). People are finding significance in networks, not locations. Can Church be expressed this way for Anglicans?
People usually come to faith in like groups.
The church in the home is a church of likeness. You have people like one another being in church provided this is not the only way they are in church. The like but also the unlike. The emergence of the Anglican Communion—need to learn again how o be a world wide church (painfully-as in the Reformation). We have four Instruments of Unity-the ABC, Lambeth, Primates, ACC. But I do wonder whether they are enough. As Anglicans realize the demands of Catholicity we will need more.

…..missed a section whispering to my neighbor in the pew….

Christianity is different from Islam which is Arabic Bound. Translatability is at the center of Anglicanism—every church orders its life according to the culture in which it is set. (Tyndale’s translation created the English we know). But there is also a dark side to translatability—Captivity. That it is so translated that they can do what they like with it. The gospel becomes captive to them and not available to others.

Why did the Reformation not produce world mission while the Counter Reformation did? Possible Answers: Mobility. Politics. Dispensationalism (The Apostles evangelized the world and if God wants any more Christians, he can make them himself). Eventually the churches of the reformation came to a sense of world mission. The tendency of Anglicans to capitulate to the culture is rooted here.

What is Christian and Ecclesial integrity? Nothing but recognizing, receiving and passing on the apostolic witness. Receiving: if you loose it, get it back. How do you settle what is apostolic? Appeal to the Scriptures by the Church. The Rule of Faith tells us what is Scripture and Vice Versa. Of course, this requires study.

Inculturation—how do we relate to people.
Contextualization—how do we relate to a people’s social, political situation.
Are there any limits?
1. The nature of the gospel itself. It cannot compromise its nature.
2. The need for fellowship between different kinds of Christians.
Talk about limits is too “negative” for some, they like to say “criteria” instead of “limits”. Make sure the mind of Christ is central, the trajectories of scripture.

Unity and Diversity
The Anglican came come into being different ways.
-coincidentally (along with the spread of English)
-Evangelical: in the 18th century a group decided that world mission was God’s will for them. They were also concerned with temporal needs. “The right spiritual relations” not the transmission of culture.
--Tractarian world missions: In Tanzania, for example, there were Bible Church and UMCA churches. Now they are all together in the same province.

Is there anything that holds it together?
Huntington’s Anglican System (worship, vestments) verses Anglican Principle (the duty of the local church to become the catholic church in that place. Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral—very important ecumenically, but also to understand ourselves. If there is diversity there can also be unity. But it has to be real diversity. That is why the instruments are not enough. The primacy of scripture has to be combined with effective teaching. There isn’t now, that’s the problem.

Dialogue and Dissent
Dialogue: Anglicans learn more about themselves talking to other Christians.
Dissent: there are traditions of dissent in Anglicanism (Puritans, the Non Jurors, the Oxford Movement).

Mission and Movement
Real creativity comes from movements—the monastic movement, the missionary movement etc. Need movements in the church to keep it alive and not a replication of institutions.

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