Dean Sam Candler on living with the tension

Dean Candler who writes a monthly piece for Daily Episcopalian over on Episcopal Cafe makes a great point in his piece today. Ostensibly on what it’s like to be a Southerner in the Episcopal Church, Dean Chandler writes of his pride about the way the William Porcher DuBose, “a Southerner and an orthodox, progressive Christian”.

“At a time when Christianity was being threatened by Darwin and the new sciences, and when the Episcopal Church was divided internally between low church Protestant types and high church Catholic types, William Porcher DuBose provided a theology that resolved both those threats. He was not afraid of the theory of evolution; he claimed that evolution actually showed the divine to be working, creating, within the natural. He was not afraid of critical thinking and cultural progress. Furthermore, he was able to combine a deep evangelicalism with an Anglo-Catholic emphasis on sacrament.

Ultimately, he was not afraid of contradictions and opposites. Here is where I am especially fond of his contribution to the Anglican world. Our own times need to hear again what William Porcher Dubose says about church unity:

‘Truth is not an individual thing; no one of us has all of it – even all of it that is known. Truth is a corporate possession, and the knowledge of it is a corporate process.’ (from Turning Points in My Life (New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1912), p. 56, as quoted in Donald S. Armentrout, A DuBose Reader (University of the South, 1984) page xxvi).

‘The one great lesson that must forerun and make ready the Christian unity of the future is this: that contraries do not necessarily contradict, nor need opposites always oppose. What we want is not to surrender or abolish our differences, but to unite and compose them. We need the truth of every variant opinion and the light from every opposite point of view. The least fragment is right in so far as it stands for a part of the truth.’ (from The Gospel in the Gospels (New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1906) page ix, as quoted in Donald S. Armentrout, A DuBose Reader (University of the South, 1984), page xxvii).”

Read the full article here.

The article is posted a week late (boo to the editors at Episcopal Cafe… oh wait…) but it’s still a timely word to the Church.

Besides, DuBose prefigures post-Positivism in a way I’d not noticed before.

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...