Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Fate of Communion: The Agony of Anglicanism and the Future of a Global Church

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Fate of Communion: The Agony of Anglicanism and the Future of a Global Church

Article excerpt

The Fate of Communion: The Agony of Anglicanism and the Future of a Global Church. By Ephraim Radner and Philip Turner. (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2006, Pp. xiii, 306. $32.00.)

The Fate of Communion is a sophisticated and challenging analysis of the conflicts that have disrupted the American Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion in recent years by two conservative priests who believe that the Episcopal Church has lost its theological bearings and standards of discipline. Ephraim Radner, now a professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto, and Philip Turner, vice-president of the conservative Anglican Communion Institute, contribute separate chapters, but this reviewer detects no appreciable difference in their views.

The immediate occasion of the conflict is, of course, the Episcopal Church's allowance of homosexual unions and the ordination of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, which in the authors' view clearly violate absolutist scriptural teaching and past Christian belief. The causes, however, are older and deeper. Radner and Turner sharply criticize the Episcopal Church for pursuing what the majority of its bishops see as a "prophetic" stance of radical inclusiveness-an inclusiveness that extends even to admitting unbaptized persons to the Eucharist. Displaying "a penchant for overadaptation" to American culture, and steering clear of the absolutisms of Rome and evangelicalism, the Episcopal Church has taken up what "can only be called 'novelties'" in Christian thought and practice (2). It has also moved away from a message of sin, atonement, and salvation to emphasize a loving God without judgment.

Radner and Turner, both of whom have served in Africa, emphasize the seismic shift in Christianity due to the explosive evangelization of the Global South, where authentic Christian experience produces bewilderment at lapses in Western churches that some believe are apostasy. …

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