You take us to the heart of a question which will have preoccupied most of us here; few members of the BOC began their Christian lives in that Church; most of us are converts. Indeed, perhaps few of us did not wonder whether we were going to perpetuate Christian disunity by converting. Certainly for me it was an issue. The Anglican Church is the English national Church; it was the English form of orthodoxy; it is a worldwide communion. To have stayed within it would have been easy at one level - not least since no one really seemed to care what one actually believed. My last Anglican priest, a pious and saintly man, told me that there were many who held what he and I held, and that I should stay within and do whatever work the Lord had for me there. But there was another level at which that was increasingly painful. So on that theme it will be interesting to see what others say.
You are, again, at the heart of things when you enquire:
Quote:possibly your particular group does not claim to be the one true Church whereby all others not in communion with your church are anathema? Possibly, your church exemplifies and manifests the supreme ontological predicate of the Holy Trinity which is "Love," and in this sense transcends all divisions in Christ whereby there is a being divided but without division. I don't know.
We would claim that the fullness of the faith is here in the BOC; but we are not much given to saying where it is not. The Spirit moves where He listeth, and he who says he has confined the Spirit speaks of what he cannot know.
Is that simple 'weasel words'? When we say that are we really saying: 'Yes, we're that Church and the rest of you be da--ed'? I don't think we are. One reason we have this Forum is to allow those interested to enquire within, as it were. Abba Seraphim maintains active ecumenical activity not because he doubts our being part of the True Church, but because we have a duty to understand, and be understood by, our fellow Christians; beyond that it is the work of the Spirit; but Abba Seraphim makes himself and the BOC a willing instrument of the Spirit. In that, Abba Seraphim does indeed, for me, represent the model of what an Ignatian bishop should be.
It would be interesting to know how he would regard this exchange; but I am not sure how many other bishops would even allow it!
There is an agony for us in seeing what should not be divided, divided. Some overcome it by denying the reality and anathematising others; others end up driven out of the Faith altogether. Power, control and tribalism - all products of our sinful state. Satan has used, and continues to use these tools against the Church - but the gates of hell still fail to prevail - even as He assured us would be the case.
Only in our love for Christ, and in His love for us all which we can share, can we find the road; it is that love which is transcendent. The contemporary heresy is to hold that one can be in that position better if one abandons doctrine and dogma; or that if one does not, then the only alternative is the sectarian/tribal mindset in which we struggle for control and power with others. But that is a false dichotomy. Only in the Apostolic succession and the creeds of the Church can one have an assurance that our bishop speaks with the authority of the Father. Having that, one can open one's arms to the world - and one can really fly.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)