Monday, November 26, 2012

Are Sydney Anglicans really Anglican?

There are many Anglicans around the world who would answer no to this question - and there are many outside the church who wonder why we are the way we are. In recent years we have had TV shows, articles and  books that have asked questions, made accusations and painted a picture of a dangerous and deluded sect. Many have suggested we should change our views to conform to the majority or quit Anglicanism altogether! How should we respond? The answer for Michael Jensen was to write Sydney Anglicans: An Apology. (Read the first chapter here.)

Michael Jensen is both a 'son of the Diocese' and a gifted theologian in his own right. He is able to understand  the complaints of the opponents and the views of those inside. He can therefore address the history and the theology of Sydney Anglicans with an insider's knowledge. This 'Apology' is written as a defense of many of the defining features of 'Sydney Anglicanism'.

In his first section on 'the Bible', Jensen addresses whether Sydney Anglicans are fundamentalists, why we read the Bible the way we do, our doctrine of revelation and the importance of preaching. His second section on 'the Church' addresses our doctrine of church, our identity as Anglicans, the church and the world, the ministry of women, lay administration of the Lord's supper and the role of the Anglican Church League.In each chapter he looks at some particular critiques, revises the history, considers the sociology and explains the theology. He also reflects on areas where Sydney Anglicans need to take care that they do not take on the worst aspects of what their critics see.

What I love about this book is the way that Michael ties in the history with the theology. The book is not a simplistic summary of the issues but lays a solid foundation in understanding what is at stake. In this way it serves to advance our theological understanding on many important issues. This is a book that will have a much longer-lasting value than any of the criticisms that prompted the author to write - and for this I think we can thank the critics that have prompted such a helpful 'apology'.

No comments:

Post a Comment