mission shaped church
Catholic creeds with all Trinitarian Churches. Many of the authors quoted
above are Anglican. Nevertheless, Anglicanism also has a distinctive
testimony and tradition within the Christian Church.
Engagement in the dynamics of its theological and practical formation is
one of the distinctive features of the Church in Anglicanism: there is no
straightforward `doctrine of the Church' but an ongoing theological
formation of church life.
the Declaration of Assent
Leaders of any Anglican expression of church should be able to make the
Declaration of Assent
in good conscience. Commitment to the historic
Christian faith, as the Church of England has received it, is more important
than adherence to any particular cultural expression of Anglican faith.
Indeed, the charge is to confess the `faith the Church is called upon to
proclaim afresh in each generation'.
During a time of cultural stability this commitment is primarily a matter of
stewardship of the faith and practice of the past. But, in a time of major
cultural change, as this report suggests, `to proclaim afresh' implies change
possibly radical change in the shape of the Church.
To proclaim afresh cannot simply mean saying the same words to a
new generation that were said to previous generations, in order to draw
them into churches which were shaped by modernity and the closing
decades of Christendom.
the Lambeth Quadrilateral
As part of a worldwide Church, Anglicanism prefers to seek unity within
tolerated diversity. The practice of the Anglican Communion is helpful and
contextual cultural divergence in different provinces is welcome. Yet, at the
same time, an instinct for loose common features, a common consultative
council, all held not least by relational bonds between bishops, may be one
that will need increased application within, not just beyond, the Church of
England. The Chicago Lambeth 1888 Quadrilateral of Scripture, the Creeds,
the dominical sacraments and the Historic Episcopacy provide a similar
yardstick for a common understanding of church. We have already
discussed Scripture and creed, but sacraments and episcopacy are also