(ABC Aus.) Stanley Hauerwas–Does Anglicanism have a future?

Catholicity is that name we give to the priority of the local for the determination of faithfulness that can only be sustained by engagement with other local expressions of the faith, as well as engagement with the whole. As Rowan Williams reminded us at the 2008 Lambeth Conference,

“The entire Church is present in every local church assembled around the Lord’s Table. Yet the local church alone is never the entire Church. We are called to see this not as a circle to be squared but as an invitation to be more and more lovingly engaged with one another.”

“Such engagement, moreover, is crucial if the church is to be an alternative to the forces that threaten to destroy locality in the name of peace. We are in danger of confusing the universality of the cross with the allegedly inevitable process of globalization. We are in the odd situation of needing one another in our diverse localities in order not to be subject to the power of false universals. Kaye calls attention to Rowan Williams’s claim in the final address at the 2008 Lambeth Conference as an expression of this understanding of catholicity:

“The global horizon of the Church matters because churches without this are always in danger of slowly surrendering to the culture around them and losing sight of their calling to challenge that culture.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Ecclesiology, Globalization, Parish Ministry, Theology

3 comments on “(ABC Aus.) Stanley Hauerwas–Does Anglicanism have a future?

  1. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Um, that’s not the definition of Catholicity. That’s the definition of Congregationalism.

  2. Terry Tee says:

    I read the entire piece on the Australian site when it first appeared. I was surprised that Stanley’s usual incisiveness and radical orthodoxy appeared muted when he wrote this piece. One small example: he seems here to have the Church of England in mind, not the Episcopal Church, because his ideal of the local church sits more comfortably within the C of E than with the gathered church that predominates in TEC. Yet he nowhere wrestles with the erastianism that plagues the Church of England, seems almost unaware of it. For instance, I learn from Anglicans here in the UK that General Synod is afraid that if it does not pass women bishops then parliament may take the matter out of its hands. There is the same fear at the back of debates about gay marriage; whereas Catholics can simply say, ‘We will opt out of church marriages simultaneously legalised by the state’ the C of E will be trapped by its founding myth of being the church for everybody everywhere and its special relationship with the state.

  3. CSeitz-ACI says:

    Let me preface this by saying Hauerwas is a friend and a colleague, though from a different area of specialism.

    At times this essay reminds me of the problems of jargon in formal biblical studies (except the wide range of formal biblical scholars at least understood the jargon, even if the public was puzzled.)

    What does Constantinianism mean—quite specifically—in the context of Anglicanism? Is a global Anglican Communion (made up of mostly non-nationalized Churches) ‘Constantinian’? So we ought not to worry about conflicts in the Communion because to do so would be to fall prey to ‘universalizing’?

    Surely the Anglican Communion’s universal claims are grounded in the Gospel and in Christ’s teaching about the Church, including interconnectedness and concern for one another, especially the poor and weak. To worry about the Communion is not somehow to lose sight of the ‘parish’. Beyond that, the appeal to Rowan Williams in this essay seems to want to give priority to the local in a manner I for one did not hear RDW saying in the way Hauerwas is bending it to purpose.

    It might be useful for Hauerwas to be clearer about the specific things he is worried about, rather than advert to them under labels he has apparently got used to without need of an interpreter.

    Christian “Ethics” must obviously extend to public discourse and a serious concern for church-wide/culture-wide accessibility and intelligibility. Else we have academic-speak and not a genuine language of the church, otherwise held up as important.

    I’d like to know more about how this essay actually interfaces with the Anglican Communion. Hauerwas is a newcomer to this churchly reality (in its Episcopal-US form) and I am unsure how much he knows about the on-the-ground facts in places like the GS. His Methodist background might be he lens, but he does not reference this.

    I can think of very few things as non-Constantinian as the global Anglican Communion.