Author: Nnatuanya Chinedu Emmanuel
Department: Religion and Human Relations
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

This dissertation discusses Anglican Via-media: A challenge to the contemporary Anglican Communion. The concept, via-media in relation to Anglicanism in the 16th century England means the “middle way” that is, the middle path in matters between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in one hand and matters between the church and the state on the other hand. But in modern times it has been viewed to mean a compromising stand in issues affecting life and existence. As a result of this misinterpretation, via-media has become a controversial issue among theologians and scholars. The implications of such understanding are the winds of homosexuality and lesbianism blowing in the communion. The climax was the election and consecration of an open gay, Gene Robinson as bishop in the Episcopal Church of United States of America in 2003, the legalization of same-sex marriage and ordination of homosexuals in Anglican Church of Canada and the boycott of 2008 Lambeth Conference by the Global South that comprises the conservative Anglicans and the subsequent creation of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) in 2008. These issues no doubt are threatening the existence and co-operation of the various churches that are in communion within Anglicanism and in view of the prevailing circumstances it seems that Canterbury which serves as the center of unity among the communion can no longer hold the churches in fellowship. The researcher employed the use primary sources and secondary sources to obtain information while the data collected were objectively analyzed using historical and phenomenological methods of interpretation. A thorough review of related literature was done to expose the historical interpretation of the concept. The findings revealed that unity among the co-operating churches within the communion is being threatened by this wrong misconception of the term via-media. It also observed that this challenge is not only theological or institutional, but it is a reflection of the larger crises of modernity. In other words, if there is a future for Anglican via-media, it must be based on new paradigms that are more consistent with the postmodern environment. This entails revisiting the concepts, via-media and making the Anglican myth relevant in contemporary times. This dissertation is of great importance to the education of Anglicans and non-Anglican in the historic nature of Anglican theology. It is also relevant to Nigerian Anglican church leaders as they remain in the fore front in the fight for the true interpretation of the via-media in relation to Anglican historic tradition. This study therefore recommends that going back to the Anglican historic tradition as established by Thomas Cranmer, Richard Hooker and the 1888 Lambeth quadrilateral remains the fundamental in re-solving the present challenges.

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