Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Theological Theology: Sydney Anglicans II. The congregation as the centre

One of the most celebrated, most ridiculed and most misunderstood theological commitments shared by most Sydney Anglicans is the priority of the local congregation. No doubt historical, cultural and sociological factors have contributed to what some see as a ‘distinctively Sydney’ approach to ‘church’. The colony of New South Wales began in 1788 with a chaplain rather than a bishop (though notionally under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Calcutta). The Australian psyche has a large strain of anti-authoritarianism and individualism running through it. In addition,  federalism (as opposed to centralism) has been an organising principle at a number of levels in Australian society (e.g. national-state government relations and the concern in the Australian Anglican constitution to shy away from a large central beauocracy and rather to protect the integrity of each of the constituent dioceses). However, influential as these larger cultural factors have been, first and foremost this is a theological commitment arising from convictions about what the Bible teaches on the subject. Read more

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