Ecumenical Vision of Anglicanism
The Most Rev. Henry Luke Orambi, former primate of the province of Uganda, leading a service of Holy Communion at The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa Copyright 2010, The Lausanne Movement
Reaching for Ecumenism
One of the things that I have always found attractive about Anglicanism is its ecumenical reach.
There is, of course, a risk to this approach. That generosity of spirit can easily lead to a blurring of important distinctions. J.I Packer complains that we too often muddle, “the virtue of tolerating different views on secondary issues on the basis of clear agreement on essentials” and, “the vice of retreating from the light of scripture into an intellectual murk where no outlines are clear, all cats are grey, and syncretism is the prescribed task” (quoted in John Stott, Evangelical Truth, 101).
As long as we pay careful attention to this danger, however, the vision of gospel centered ecumenism within the Anglican Communion holds great promise for our relationships with other denominations that share our biblical commitments. It means that Anglicanism offers special promise for those who seek better relationships between the fractured elements of Christ’s worldwide church. This is very important for the church’s mission in the world. Christ’s prayer to his Father for his disciples, “that they may be one even as we are one” (John 17:22) has a missionary thrust: “that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (v 23).
It is therefore a very happy thing that Trinity School for Ministry continues to welcome not only students preparing for ministry in Anglican and Episcopal churches, but also students from other denominations. We have Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and others regularly taking classes on campus and online. They find our commitment to being an evangelical seminary in the Anglican tradition very conducive to their own preparation for lay and ordained ministry.
In the years that lie ahead, we want to continue cultivating these relationships and to seek out new partnerships without compromising our identity. We believe that this is part of what it means to be a global center for Christian formation. This too is part of the preparation we offer to the leaders of the Church of the future.
Article taken from the Summer 2013 issue of Seed & Harvest.
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