Friday, January 25, 2008

CONCLUSION: The Ten Elements of Historic Anglicanism

Click HERE for the link to all the posts in this series. (If you want to link this to your Blog, this is your URL). And here, for your overviewing pleasure, are Dr. Barnett's Ten Elements (You can click on each one) -

#1: Historic Anglicanism is Biblical
#2: Historic Anglicanism is Protestant
#3: Historic Anglicanism is catholic
#4: Historic Anglicanism is Reformed
#5: Historic Anglicanism is Liturgical
#6: Historic Anglicanism is Evangelistic and Pastoral
#7: Historic Anglicanism is Episcopal and Parochial
#8: Historic Anglicanism is of Rational Ethos
#9: Historic Anglicanism affirms Creation, Society and the Common Good
#10: Historic Anglicanism is an Open Fellowship

Dr. Barnett, concludes on a personal note:
'These are elements to be appreciated and valued, as a motivation for a free expression of ministry, both in church on Sunday, as well as during the week. With the opportunity to experience other traditions I have come the more to value my own. In this regard, I echo and endorse the sentiment of J.I. Packer that, "Anglicanism embodies the richest, truest, wisest heritage in Christendom." * I commend it to us as something to be valued and appreciated and out of which we exercise our ministries.'

* J.I. Packer, "Speculating in Anglican Futures" in New Directions (Sept 1995), 6
Three concluding thoughts from me:

First, I can see how these Ten Elements are significant. Personally, I like being a Christian in the Anglican tradition. And Dr. Barnett has raised things that many of us do not think a whole lot about.

The natural problem is that the present expression of Anglicanism is (as everyone agrees), very messy. The question that is often asked is: "Has the Anglican experiment failed?" My own answer to that, for what it's worth, is that Anglicans are as messy as the human heart is. Anglicans mirror the human condition. And in a strange way, I give thanks to God for this. For isn't it true that Israel's fallen-ness is on every page of the Bible? And yet, God intends good for the saving of many lives. Within the Biblical narrative, God raised up some (a remnant), and then One (a Messiah) in the midst of all that messiness in order to redeem many lives. My denomination, I say in humility, reflects the truth of this Gospel. Pray for us.

Second, I'd like your comments here (I feel I don't have sufficient knowledge). In order to justify Packer's superlatives ('richest, truest, wisest'), we'd have to now show that:
  • All ten points are, in fact, valuable;
  • That no other heritage has all the ten points;
  • That there are no other valuable elements in another heritage that Anglicans don't have.
Third, some links were sent to me that are worth including in a post-
  • Byron sent me Garrison Keillor on Liturgy (I went to see Keillor in NYC in December! V funny.)
  • Byron also linked to a person who asks Why liturgy? ('from a slightly 'higher' Anglican'.)
  • And early on, Hughesi and Jess wanted to invite you all to hear from J.I. Packer directly, as he explains in 7 reasons 'Why I am an Anglican.' (Cost: $CDN3:00 I haven't listened yet.)
Any concluding thoughts?

Pic of Paul Barnett.


michael jensen said...

Justin: as you know, I love this series. It came at a great time for me, actually.

But: in the interests of nixing denominational triumphalism in the bud, could there be a sensitively worked list of the chief weaknesses of Anglicanism? In a funny way, the possibility of admitting this would be proof of its great strengths...what do you think?>

Justin said...

Mike, I need another bishop who has written "The Ten Weaknesses of Historic Anglicanism". :) I wonder if there are any takers?

The truth is: I thought that the weaknesses were always on display! Certainly her weaknesses are paraded through the media, not without reason. Isn't that why a series like this can exist in a moment of history such as ours (without being triumphant)? i.e. since Anglicanism has had a bad rap, it's nice to see someone being a little positive about her possibilities.

It's the weekend here, so I'll have to think about it on Monday.

But in the meantime, my conclusion post raises some questions that moderate triumphalism: My first point is that Anglicanism is as messy as the human heart. And my three questions allow for someone of another denomination to speak up.

Or maybe I can put it up as a post, and we can make this a collaborative effort.

sam said...

nice series Justin... Not having studied at Moore College this has been good reading for me. I intend to come back to these 10 points and think through the strengths and weaknesses of our model of church.

Justin said...

Sam --

As you know, I was there on staff at your church in the early days in the 90s. And I remember asking some similar questions.

I know it's a different church now than it was 15 years ago. But I can get a feel for what you are thinking.

Keep Christ central, Sam!

byron smith said...

Thanks for this series Justin, and thanks to Bishop Barnett for writing and sharing these points.

A minor point - although Alastair's post began with Garrison Keillor, he had quite a bit to say himself beyond that.

Sam Lago said...

Justin, I too loved this series.
I particularily enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised by teh last post on Open Fellowship.

Its something that I'm seeing SO much at the Church I currently now serve at, All Saints Belfast. Its an Anglican Church, with an Anglican Rector, a Presbyterian assistant minister and a Baptist Student worker. And they all feel at home here. Now thats truly catholic and Biblical...and well, encouraging.

Hope everything's going well with you at NYC. Don't think I've forgotten your self-invitation to offer your help in Chile.

Has Stephen Shead sent you the new website for the Anglican Bible College where he's teaching?

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