Sunday, June 8, 2008

Re-envisioning Baptist Identity - some Anglican affinities?

Sioux Falls is a theologically rich environment, and Good Shepherd is blessed to interact with students and teachers from a number of Christian traditions.

Philip Thompson of Sioux Falls Seminary is one of the contributors to this document, posted on Axis of Access (Ryan Stander is one of my parishioners, but will soon move to North Dakota, @#%$ it.)

Anyway, back to the document. Those of a theological bent will enjoy engaging the discussions of Biblical authority, interpretation and the nature of the church. I found the following most interesting:

4. We affirm baptism, preaching, and the Lord’s table as powerful signs that seal God’s faithfulness in Christ and express our response of awed gratitude rather than as mechanical rituals or mere symbols. We do not deny that God may strengthen the faith of believers in new forms and in providential ways. Nevertheless baptism, proclamation, and the Lord’s table, which were ordained by the Lord to be observed faithfully until the end of the age (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Mt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25), have sustained and nourished the people of God through the ages as we make our way through this world. In and through these remembering practices, God’s grace and Christian obedience converge in a visible sign of the new creation. By repeating these signs we learn to see the world as created and redeemed by God. The Spirit who proceeds from the Father through the Son makes the performance of these practices effectual so as to seal and nourish the faith and freedom of believers.

It is tantalizingly close to Anglicanism's marks of the visible church, as stated in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion:

XIX. Of the Church.The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same...


Perpetua said...

A few months ago (or less?) Baby Blue wrote that she attended a wedding at a Baptist Church and she recognized that the minister was using the same marriage service that is in the Episcopal Prayer Book. Did Baptists split off from the Anglican Church? We seem to have a lot in common.

TLF+ said...

perpetua -

If you go to Axis of Access and the full statement, you will notice an admission that Baptists have tended to split off from just about everybody!

But there are convergences going on among various Biblically orthodox Christians, and on moral issues among diverse groups including even the RC church.

Even so, a minimal statement like the Chicago-Lambeth quadrilateral, generous as it appears, is going to be a stumbling block. I find it hard to imagine a Baptist Episcopate, for example.