By Fr. Mark Perkins
A new Episcopal website called Earth & Altar officially launched yesterday with an "invitational essay" by their editor-in-chief Chris Corbin. The essay expands upon their particular vision of "creedal orthodoxy," which they have variously described as "inclusive," "generous," and "expansively conceived" in their promotional material.
I wrote about their project last month after the launch of their publicity campaign. Mostly I highlighted what their project and ours share in common, but in so doing I argued that their self-descriptions, "while rhetorically powerful, are ultimately distinctions without meaningful theological difference":
To those, for instance, who deny the virgin birth, they and we are equally exclusive, which is to say equally “ungenerous.” How can they — how can we — justify this apparent failure of generosity and inclusivity? I think and I hope they would say that the truths contained in the creeds are of divine origin. Just so. We don’t get to challenge or change them. We don’t get to be more inclusive or more generous than the God who is love.
I don't have anything substantial to add to what I wrote then — although I do now suspect that the existence of two identically named, broadly Anglican, and visually similar sites will lead to some significant confusion. And I have become, I must say, increasingly perplexed by their branding decisions the more I think about it.
Otherwise, what I wrote then still stands. Rev. Corbin's essay, well-written though it is, does not escape the basic incoherence I identified in their initial publicity campaign. I applaud any and all movement away from Spong-and-Pike Anglicanism and towards genuine affirmation of the creeds. Nevertheless, the "inclusive orthodoxy" movement suffers from the same tendency to pick and choose among Vincentian canon truths and to modify the hard teachings of Scripture and tradition in order to accommodate our post-Christian culture.
Fr. Mark Perkins is Assistant Editor of Earth & Altar. He is also Assistant Curate at All Saints Anglican Church, Charlottesville and a full-time history teacher.