Why does the Anglican Church still exist

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A church that tolerates fractures

Basically, this is exactly what the Protestant Reformation in Europe was about five hundred years ago: God's grace, working through faith, changed the life and death of a person and with it the world. Power has been challenged and the Bible has been made available to all. However, this determined will to break up the church also produced, in a certain sense, a church that tolerated rupture - often precisely on issues such as how to read and understand the Bible. This has made it impossible today to count the number of different Protestant denominations around the world. Even individuals feel able to found their own "church-like communities", as the Roman Catholic Church called the churches of the Reformation, including the Church of England. The Reformation itself was never monochrome, but rather colorful: Calvin, Zwingli, Luther and many others knew exactly what separated them from one another, and tolerant forbearance for one another was neither in the 16th century nor - globally speaking - is it all too widespread today.

So what can be said about Protestantism as it exists worldwide today? Well, it offers the world a wide range of theological and ecclesiastical cultures and peculiarities. It enables a great variety of forms of worship, biblical focus and interpretation; it enables prophetic utterances in public life and, last but not least, commitment to the social and political order of this world.

Challenge and opportunity for the churches of Europe

From my point of view, the most interesting development in recent years is that the Lutheran World Federation has decided to call itself a “communion” - analogous to the worldwide Anglican communion. There is a clear difference between, on the one hand, a federation, which has to do with the common perception of interests and the community, and, on the other hand, a community (communion), which is oriented towards theological and ecclesiastical identity. Perhaps this is evidence that the tendency of the Protestant churches to split up in the past is now recognized as destructive because of ever smaller theological differences, not least in the face of an increasingly peaceless world that needs our full attention. (In this context it should be mentioned that the CPCE, the “Community of Protestant Churches in Europe” is translated into English as the “Communion of Protestant Churches in Europe”.)