Monday, October 06, 2008

Why Anglican?

[St. Andrew's Cathedral] 6 Oct 2008--It is a strange phenomenon when your friends and enemies agree about you. But Sydney Anglicans enjoy this peculiarity. Neither friends nor enemies think we believe in Anglicanism.

Part of the reason is that Anglicanism is itself a strange phenomenon. Not even Anglicans agree about what it is. It can be defined sociologically or confessionally.

Described sociologically, it is the religion of the English people and their worldwide descendants. Anglicanism was, and still is, the national Church of England. So Anglicanism is the worldwide organization that has grown out of the national Church of England.

On this understanding, whatever the Church in England does or believes is Anglican. Similarly, the descendents of the English, scattered abroad as a result of Britain's erstwhile Empire, determine what is Anglican by whatever they do or believe. Sociological Anglicanism is about belonging not believing. You belong irrespective of what you believe or what you do.

So it is an irrelevance whether such a church departs from basic Christian teaching. Sociological Anglicanism does not even have to be Christian - just English. This gives modern Australians very little reason to either join or belong.

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