Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Those Wacky Anglicans Are At It Again!

Canadian Anglicans will hold discussions this spring about whether baptism is necessary for taking part in communion -questioning a requirement of Christianity that has existed for 2,000 years.

WooHoo! It's a party at the Anglicans'!

This is all coming from the National Post, so if there are inaccuracies, take it up with them. Anyways, looking at the story, there's a lot of instructive stuff. For example:

"Official teaching is you have to be baptized first..."

There are "official" Anglican teachings? Who knew?

But a number of clergy across the country feel strongly about this as an issue and many have approached their bishops about allowing for an 'open table' in which all could take communion," said Archdeacon Paul Feheley, who is the principal secretary to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, head of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Ah, now this is the Anglicanism we've all come to know. If enough people feel a certain way about a topic, then anything and everything that we know from Divine Revelation can be tossed out the door to make way for the sentiments of men.

Rev. Gary Nicolosi said that if Jesus did not discriminate about who he invited to his table, then the Church should follow his lead.

Yeah, I wonder if this guy is familiar with some of the recent readings. I'd say casting someone into the outer darkness is pretty discriminatory on Our Lord's part.

"How, in our multicultural and pluralistic society, can our churches be places of hospitality if we exclude table fellowship with the non-baptized? This is not an academic question," wrote Rev. Nicolosi, the pastor at St. James Westminster Anglican Church in London, Ont., and an official Church consultant on how to build membership.

Notice the shift here. He introduces the topic as being something about what Jesus would do. Ultimately, that isn't the real motivating factor. It's about society and conforming to the standards of the world.

"In Canada, a growing number of the population is not baptized. Included are people from different religious traditions or people with no religious affiliation at all. Quite likely, some are our grandchildren or great-grandchildren, whose parents neglected or refused to have them baptized.

"How can the church effectively minister in a post-Christian world where a significant percentage of the population is not baptized? Some Anglican churches are attempting to meet this challenge by becoming open and inclusive faith communities, ready and willing to support people in their spiritual journeys."

Well gee, Gary. How about trying this as a solution?

Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you

Matthew 28:19-20

Continuing with the real force behind all this, Gary provides some stats:

In an interview, Rev. Nicolosi noted the Church is losing 13,000 members a year and that those who remain now have an average age of 60. He estimates that just 500,000 Anglicans are left in Canada, down from 1.3 million only a few decades ago.

Many who come to church do not feel welcome because they are not able to fully participate, he said. It is akin, he added, to inviting someone for Sunday dinner and not feeding them a meal.

Of course. Communion is just a meal, after all. This reminds of something Flannery O'Connor once said: If the Eucharist is just a symbol, then to hell with it.

Hey, if the Anglicans are losing so many members, why not have a carnival at every service with rides and ponies? It could be like Coney Island. That would pack the parishioners in.

"If the teaching has been that baptism leads to communion, I don't see why communion can't lead to baptism," said Rev. Nicolosi.

Ah, yes. The Almighty "I" has declared that the economy of salvation works this way.

Rev. Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College, an Anglican seminary in Toronto, rejects the idea that changing 2,000 years of tradition will make the Anglican Church stronger.

"The Eucharist isn't a welcoming exercise," he said. "It is about Christ's sacrifice on the cross. It's not a meal like any other meal.

"It has been a clear and consistent practice through all of Christianity and shows that a baptized person has committed himself or herself to Jesus."

He said to eliminate the requirement would water down what Christianity stands for, and he is concerned that leaders of the Church do not find the suggestion alarming.

"It's dangerous," he said. "It makes God and Christ not as holy and demanding and wonderful as the Church has taught."

Bad news, Ephraim. You best head for the ordinariate. This stuff won't play in the Schori Communion that is ascendant among your brethren. I feel bad for guys like this, but you'd think they would have caught on by now. Once you break fellowship with Peter, it's all downhill from there.


Roisin said...

Wow. Everything you wrote was dead-on.

Turgonian said...

Hehe...eliminating Baptism would "water down" things? That's funny.