Thompson, Mark. “Who or what defines the Anglican Communion?” Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans. N.d. http://fcasa.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/who-or-what-defines-the-anglican-communion/. Accessed 7 Oct 2014.
Who or what defines the Anglican Communion?
In an interview with the editor of the Church Of Ireland Gazette(Canon Ian Ellis), the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, has given his opinion on what defines a church as part of the Anglican Communion, and therefore, by implication, what is critical for Anglican identity.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s insistence on communion with his office as a–if not the–defining characteristic of Anglicanism ought to come as no surprise. It is an institutional and process-driven answer to the question of Anglican identity from one who has shown himself to be more comfortable thinking in those categories than in theological ones. It makes the matter a simple one, one which can avoid divisive questions about whether a particular group has remained faithful to the confessional formularies (the 39 Articles and the books of Homilies, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal) or obedient to the Scriptures in matters of theology and Christian discipleship. Of course, it is not hard to see why avoiding those questions is desirable, especially to someone committed to maintaining some semblance of unity in a global institution which has been tearing itself apart for the past thirty years or more. Archbishop Welby has an impressive record in dispute resolution and he knows that institutional inclusiveness is a more achievable goal than theological agreement and a common commitment to biblical patterns of discipleship.