Saturday, November 7, 2009

Continuing Passivity

One of the things that greatly concerns me is the general passivity of the Continuing Anglican Churches. There are times when I am tempted to refer to the whole movement as the Anglican Recusant Movement because they display the same sort of "if people want the true Faith; they will come to us" mentality as English Roman Catholics did in the eighteenth century. They perhaps had some cause, as the Hannoverian Jackboot was apt to come down on religious minorities such as English Roman Catholics and Scottish Episcopalians, but so far as the USA was concerned that threat was removed by the Treaty of Paris.

The great and common enemy of all orthodox Christians are secularism and indifferentism. Secularism starts with the marginalization of religion on the basis that man is now "grown-up" but ends up by persecuting religion. Indifferentism teaches that all religions are basically the same, and none is any more or less true than another. The former is the credo of the self-appointed American intellectual elite, but they have been pretty successful in spreading the second error to the mainline Protestant Churches and to "Spirit of Vatican II" Roman Catholics. It has certainly undermined the desire and the ability of mainline Christian denominations to evangelize.

Continuing Anglicans have a slightly different problem. We are not much geared towards Evangelism, which seems to be a by-product of the "anti-Evangelical" stance taken by many Broad and High Church Episcopalians. There was an old quip in the West that the Baptist and Methodist missionaries arrived by mule train; the Presbyterian missionary by stagecoach; and the Episcopalian missionary by Pullman Car. Unfortunately, we still have a bit of that Pullman Car Evangelism attitude today; doubly so when you consider that the churches that survive the next fifty years will be those that Evangelize an increasingly secular culture.

However, Evangelism does not have to be a noisy in-your-face venture. A good, Bible-based preaching ministry, a preparedness to welcome strangers, and a willingness to reach out to the wider community are three factors that tend to lead to growth. There is a high interest in Christianity in American society as a whole, and there will always be those who are interested enough to seek out teachers. Being a teaching church that takes people's intellects seriously has always been one of the strengths of Anglicanism, but we need to translate that into something that has a positive Evangelical thrust. Unfortunately, as a life-long Anglican, I am not sure how one does that. Until I figure it out I will teach, and encourage my congregation to be as welcoming as possible, and trust that being a Church that stands unequivocably for the Gospel of Christ will encourage visitors to become members.

No comments:

Post a Comment