Recently there has been (well, OK, I’ve particularly noticed) a trend towards the self-description of certain groups of Anglicans as ‘faithful’. I’ve been ruminating about this for a while, but this post and resulting comments have got me thinking further.
What exactly are people meaning by ‘being faithful’ (or ‘loyal’)? From my point of view faithfulness to Christ should be of a higher order than faithfulness to a particular Christian church. If ‘faithful’ is defined in terms of our loyalty to the current interpretations of the canons of TEC (or in my case, ACC) then I, and many ‘conservatives’ would have no problem in being unfaithful if/when it becomes necessary.
If ‘faithfulness’ was widely understood in this context to be about describing loyalty to particular church canons, that would be fine. However, in reality it is often applied much more liberally – indeed you could be forgiven for thinking that failure to offer unconditional obedience to the canons is the unforgivable sin. The terms ‘faithful’ or ‘loyal’ appear to be used as a label to smear and demonise the other side, who by extension are unfaithful and disloyal, obviously…..
Really though, are any of us faithful? I don’t think so. There is only One who is faithful, and Him we must follow. Any faithfulness that we possess is a gift from the Lord and not our innate property. Rather, we are faithless rebels who have been redeemed through the sacrifice of our Lord. A touch of humility might be appropriate under the circumstance.
Calling ourselves faithful as a weapon to be used against our enemies, or as a cover for absorbed self-affirmation, is more than dishonest. It is is an affront and insult to the only One who was ever truly faithful.