Talk of schism was in the air

Anglican Centrist breaks the news that nearly a century ago there was talk of schism raging over the whole of the Anglican Communion.

“I pray to God that the controversy may not occasion a schism which shall rend the Church in two. The dangers are only too obvious and can hardly be exaggerated. They involve consequences, affecting not only the Church of England, but the whole of Christendom.”

Writing to The Times the Bishop of Oxford says he doubts if the cohesion of the Church of England was ever more seriously threatened than now, and adds:

“The reason for this is that three sections of the Church are pursuing their own principles to a point where they become really intolerable to the main body.”

He concludes that unless the great body of the Anglican Church can again speedily arrive at some statement of principles, such as will avail to pull it together again, it will go on the certain way toward destruction.

The problems started in Africa, when sixty missionaries assembled to consider how the denominational missions, working in the same field, could work together “so as to present the solid front of Christianity to Mohammedanism.”

The New York Times said: “The conference was eminently successful and fraternal feeling was so strong that at the close a united communion was held, the Bishops of Uganda and Mombassa officiating.”

When news got out that members of the meeting who were not Anglican–Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians– were given holy communion at a service presided over by Anglican Bishops following the (1662) Book of Common Prayer, there were threats of charging the two bishops with heresy, the Archbishop of Canterbury was called upon to intervene and commissions were called for to create firm standards and guidelines.

Read the rest here.

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