Will the real Episcopalians please stand up?

So someone in the comments section on Peter Enns’s blog made the comment about how she went from being a Unitarian to being an Episcopalian. I made the follow-up question which provoked some response:

Nowadays, is there really much difference between Unitarian and Episcopalian? I mean some Episcopalians are more dogmatic but there are a lot that have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

Some have asked if this is meant to be a serious comment. It is. One could try asking the ACNA as to why it felt suit to leave the Episcopal Church for more information on this. But I wanted to simply ask the question as to what the real Episcopalian doctrine is and feel free to comment in the comment section below. My comment is based on the fact that nowadays, there seems to be no crystal clear Episcopalian doctrine. Many people from my own church, the ACA, a Continuing Anglican Church in a more Anglo-Catholic (Oxford Movement) style tradition had left the Episcopalian Church precisely because of its lapse in doctrine.

Someone responded to me saying:

You mean Episcopalians are an open bunch of believers who welcome all and keep the centrality of Christ at their center, majoring on the majors while showing compassion and charity for disagreements on the minors?

Burn them all, I guess.

I will just simply state that this statement is completely meaningless. My own church is obviously more dogmatic than most Episcopalians are nowadays and we certainly welcome all, keep the centrality of Christ (that’s honestly more of a western concept and I prefer Trinitarian centrality at the center as the Eastern Christians do), majoring on the majors, and showing compassion and charity for disagreements on the minors. My question is not whether the Episcopalians do this but which are the majors?!? For instance, with the ACNA, it is combined Evangelical Anglican and Anglican Catholic. They agree that the majors are at least the first four ecumenical councils, the authority of the scriptures, and disagree on more minor doctrines such as whether women should be ordained or not. My own church has stated that the first seven ecumenical councils are what should be held to and that there are seven sacraments (holy orders of which is male in nature) and has said anything goes on any other doctrine not explicitly stated in the seven ecumenical councils or the Affirmation of St. Louis.

With the Episcopal Church, one might be tempted to point to the XXXIX Articles of Religion but due to the vast amount of interpretations given to the Articles (for instance, Oxford Movement Anglicans typically accept transubstantiation which many believe is in violation of the XXXIX Articles), there realistically is no authoritative source stating what the majors are. And so you will in fact come across Episcopalians who literally deny the resurrection of Jesus and Episcopalians who state he is just a wisdom teacher. You will come across many Episcopalians who accept gay marriage as perfectly legitimate and Episcopalians who don’t. So it really isn’t enough to say that “Episcopalians major on the majors” because there isn’t even agreement within the Episcopalian Church as to what the majors are. I welcome further discussion here as it seems we’re getting off topic on Enns’s blog though.

About Emperor Thomas I

Catholic monarch of the New Roman Coalition. Consecrated to the Apostle Thomas, the Holy Martyr Sigismund, and the Holy Martyr Olaf II.
This entry was posted in Anglicanism, Broad Church, High Church, Low Church. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Will the real Episcopalians please stand up?

  1. I will further state that I by no means think that all Episcopalians are heretics or unorthodox. There are certainly many Episcopalians who I would actually be in more theological agreement with than others. I am simply commenting on the overall theological spectrum consisting within Episcopalianism that leaves its doctrines impossible to identify what it exactly believes.

    There is actually someone in my class in school right now who has expressed willingness to become a Unitarian minister and has told me that they have people all over the place going to Unitarian churches including Catholics and atheists.

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