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The Covenant Conundrum: How Affirming an Eschatological Ecclesiology Could Help the Anglican Communion

Scott MacDougall


This article argues that it is insufficient to ask merely whether the proposed Anglican Covenant is confessional, contractual, conservative, centralizing, or punitive, the themes currently to the fore in the covenant debate. Instead, the Communion must ask what quality of intra- and inter-ecclesial relationality is appropriate for Christian community and measure the covenant against it. An ecclesiology founded upon an anticipated eschatology, an approach familiar to Anglican theology and practice, provides a framework for this assessment. Five characteristics of eschatological ecclesiology and the quality of relationality it promotes are advanced. Aided by the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission’s report Communion, Conflict and Hope and the work of Bruce Kaye, it is shown that the ecclesiological values of the Windsor Report and its resultant covenant are at odds with those that arise from an eschatological ecclesiology, providing an opening for the Communion to resolve its “covenant conundrum.”

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