The Episcopal Church in America has split. Following is an op-ed piece I ran across which goes straight to the heart of the cause of the split. Some of you may not even care one way or another, but for those of us who went through the split, it has been painful. The op-ed piece: “This is what it comes down to: Conservatives vs. liberals, constructionists vs. activists. You want to know how this argument is going to end? Look at the personalities of those involved in the decision-making, look at how they apply their personal overarching views and you, too, can play prognosticator.
That’s how it works when you are trying to discern how the U.S. Supreme Court, which began its 2007-08 term last week, will rule on the myriad cases before it. Will the conservative constructionists, who believe that the Founding Fathers actually were pretty clear in their intent and that that intent hasn’t changed over the years, form the majority?
Or will the liberal activists, who believe the Founding Fathers always meant for the Constitution to be interpreted in the context of the current times, be the deciding factor in cases this year?
Take away the discussion about the Supreme Court, insert the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and you could be having the same discussion.
The Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the American branch, is divided in the same way between conservative constructionists and liberal activists. The former believe that the Scriptures are plainly written, can be plainly interpreted and that the meaning has not changed over time.
The latter believe the Scriptures are to be understood both in the context in which they were written and the context in which the believers now live, and that their meaning does change with the times. The former believe that culture cannot and should not influence interpretation. The latter believe that culture always influences interpretation.”