IMPLICATIONS AND CHALLENGES OF NEW GENERATION CHURCHES’ IMPORTED DOCTRINES ON THE CONTEMPORANEITY OF ANGLICAN SPIRITUALITY, MISSION AND LITURGY.
Definition of terms
Treatment of an important but volatile topic of this nature naturally requires that the presenter and his listeners be brought to the same page through contextual definition of terms. On this topic, the following terms or concepts as the case may be shall be defined in the context of our discourse.
2. Anglican spirituality
3. Anglican mission,
4. Anglican liturgy, and
5. New generation churches
In its simplest form, Contemporaneity as a term entails the whole idea of making the ancient look modern and may be, acceptable or more acceptable through deliberate or inadvertent modifications to conform to the albeit undefined but perceived standard, trend, vogue or culture of modernity. The idea of contemporanizing, in the first instance, stems from an intrinsic value judgment or mere belief that places the modern or new view or practice on a higher pedestal than the ancient or former. This judgment, especially when it comes to matter of faith, is often not based on any scientific or proven evidence but on what social science calls ‘face validity’.
The term is undoubtedly a derivative of the adjective ‘contemporary’ which two adopted dictionary definitions are of grave implications for our discourse. First, it means ‘belonging to or occurring in the present’, and second, ‘following modern ideas in style or design’. The etymology of the Word traces it down to Medieval Latin Word contemporarius from con - ‘together with’ and tempus, tempor - ‘time’. If the two quoted words are put together we have “together with time”.
The mind bugging question now is, at what time did Anglican spirituality, mission and liturgy ever get out of touch with time? It becomes more worrisome when we juxtapose the question against the first definition of contemporary as ‘belonging to or occurring in the present’. If we attempt to go a bit deeper in our look, contemporazing Anglican spirituality, mission and liturgy could imply an attempt to situate Anglicanism, i.e. make it belong to the present day trend of Pentecostalism for it to be of relevance. Certainly, nothing can be more untrue; we all know that Anglicanism has never lost its relevance, be it in spirituality, mission, liturgy or what have you.
If placed in the right order, before Anglican Spirituality is Christian Spirituality which in a way also defines Anglican Spirituality. And what is this Christian Spirituality?
Christianity Spirituality is the quest for a fulfilled and authentic life that involves three things viz:
i. Inculcating and internalizing the beliefs and values of Christianity as founded on the Scripture
ii. Weaving these taught and learned beliefs and values into the fabric of our lives, that is, showing forth in our lives what we believe in our hearts; so that
iii. so that we the "animate,", according to Gordon Mursell, may provide the "breath" and "spirit" and "fire" for our lives
One of the most elucidating framework for understanding Anglican Spirituality is the one by Rev. Dr. John H. Westerhoff in his small book "A People Called Episcopalians", which characterizes Anglican Spirituality as:
● liturgical and biblical, rooted in common, communal, daily prayer (Morning Prayer, Noonday prayer, Evening Prayer, Compline of the Book of Common Prayer)
● communal. Communal prayer comes before personal prayer and shapes personal prayer
● sacramental. Anglicans view the sacraments as "outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace." Through Baptism we become participants in a community of faith. Through the Eucharist, we become participants in the life of God.
● pastoral. Devotion to God and pastoral concern and service to our neighbors go together
● incarnational. It emphasizes
o the goodness of material world and sensuality (God s creation)
o a sacramental view of the material world as doorway to the divine
o a tendency at times towards the Orthodox doctrine of theosis or deification (God became human so that humans might become divine), emphasizing:
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