What comes to mind first when you think of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus?
If you are an Episcopalian, it seems that you don’t think much at all. This past week the Episcopal Church published a new report, “Around One Table”. The report uncovers and highlights the commonalities that unite Episcopalians. The top core identity theme is Christ-centeredness. For some the Christ-centeredness falls upon communion; others emphasize inclusion; and still others stress holiness of life.
According to the report, those who emphasize communion speak in terms of the fellowship of sharing the Holy Eucharist, or in the sense of connection and mutual recognition shared across the Anglican Communion. Persons emphasizing inclusion view Christ-centeredness as the Church embracing the fullest range of the human family, directly reflecting Jesus’ extensive reach to those who otherwise were regarded as outcasts. For a third group of persons, to be Christ-centered refers to how the Church, organizationally as well as individually, seeks to live a Godly life and make vivid and public its commitment to Christ.
Episcopalians have dropped the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus from their identity as a Christ-centered people. We have become what could be called “Gospel-empty” Christians as opposed to “Epistle-grounded” Christians among we more evangelical brothers and sisters.
The challenge of being a Third Way in our denomination is bringing the one side, Gospel-empty to sit at the feet of Epistle-grounded. The one must serve the other: the Gospels reveal Jesus Christ, the Epistles explain Jesus Christ.