“The debate over Arianism brought about clarity for the church with regards to the nature of Christ. Then they had the possibility of an ecumencal council to work things through, and the Creed emerged. Our divisions may prevent that, but we have greater possibilities of communication given the global realities, and we have a great and complex history behind us as the Bride of Christ. Over against the revisionism that plagues the mainline churches, we have seen remarkable things––the rediscovery of liturgy by the “free” and independent churches, a new love for the Great Tradition, the charismatic movement and Opus Dei in the Catholic church, and the rediscovery of evangelism as Orthodoxy moves out of survival mode. What new thing is the Spirit doing? We received a missive from the late Pontiff at Plano/aka Dallas, through the lips of the current Pontiff. Many of us have close ties with Roman Catholic and Orthodox friends. The current question before all of us is that of the nature of the church, the ecclesial question. As we are freed up from sticking our fingers in the dyke of dying denominations, and as mainline Protestantism self-destructs, I pray that the end will not be a Balkanization, but a comunion that seeks to be faithful and that can enter into true, honest, and loving conversation with faithful Catholic and Orthodox brothers and sisters. Let us see what the Spirit will do, and pray that unity will not come only as a reponse to extreme persecution. Ut unum sint––one in undistorted doctrine, full worship and family likeness within one church. God specializes in resurrection.”
Edith Humphrey is currently Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She has served as a member of the Primate’s Theological Commission, Anglican Church of Canada, and has taught at Regent College. An excerpt from her latest book Ecstasy and Intimacy has been printed in The Anglican Planet.