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Restoring the Bonds of Affection

R. William Carroll

The Windsor Report would move Anglicanism in the wrong direction. Instead of centralization, which makes colonial, patriarchal, and Constantinian assumptions, I advocate devolving authority. Authority should be dispersed away from bishops and toward the entire people of God, which interprets Scripture with the Spirit's guidance; this is the direction of the subversive character of Jesus' message and the baptismal ecclesiology of the 1979 Prayer Book. The Anglican Communion should be polycentric with self-governing churches discerning God's will in their local context. Indeed, dioceses, parishes, and individuals should be more free to follow their consciences. Authority should be dispersed away from "core doctrines" and toward Jesus, who is the sole center of the Communion. Preserving a Communion held together by "bonds of affection" rather than global hierarchy and canon law would keep Anglicans closer to the gospel, which proclaims Christ alone as Lord.

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