In the combox to the blog below, I insisted that unity is as important as orthodoxy in the Church.
Past-Elder responded by saying:
“That’s what makes Catholicism Catholicism — anything is allowed except leaving the family, like a spiritual Mafia. The institution is god.”
Well, I guess that since “the Church IS Christ”, and the “institution” we are talking about is the Church, and Christ is God, then perhaps we could extend our syllogism to read “the Institution is God” as Terry suggests…
But lets get a couple of things clear about the Sydney Anglicans–great guys and gung-ho for the gospel as they surely are: they are not just “pure” evangelical Church-of-England types. Eg. They have been practicing (and pushing for in the wider Church) lay-presidency of the Eucharist, something with which no other Anglican Church in the world agrees. And Archbishop Peter Jenson is boycotting (and encouraging other bishops to boycott) the Lambeth Conference and trying to run his own Episcopal Conference in Jerusalem (even though the local Anglican bishop in Jerusalem, who is also an evangelical, is imploring them not to come and to go to Lambeth instead to make their voices heard among the brethren).
I don’t know whether “pure doctrine” is possible by any standard. I rather think that “orthodoxy” allows of a number of different possible formulations of Christian doctrine. My way of saying something may not be your way of saying something but that doesn’t mean that you are necessarily teaching heresy (see this example). Hence, within acceptable orthodoxy, communion is maintained.
But what appears to be going on in Sydney Anglicanism is certainly “pure schismaticism”, pressing the “local option” button (to use Pope Benedict’s words) at the first sign of disagreement among the brethren and sistern.
My point is that in the Christian Church the maintenance of unity and the maintenance of orthodoxy must never and can never be played off against one another. Both are equally important. The Church is both ONE and CATHOLIC. Neither Unity nor Catholicity is more important than the other.
And, by the way, since I have cited the Creed, clearly the Creed isn’t trying to say “These are the qualities the Church should be aiming for”, but rather “These are the qualities that the Church HAS”. So if you want to find the true Church, find the Church that is firm in CATHOLIC doctrine and UNITED in communion throughout the world while being totally COMMITTED to seeking full communion with all Christians universally.