The views expressed on The Writers’ Block do not necessarily express
the views of the ASCT editorial team, the All Saints’ community, or the
New England diocese. They express the views of the individual author
alone. However, the editorial team has asked each author to adhere to
the standards listed below:
The goal of the Center for Theology is to serve the spiritual formation of the church while providing a public witness to the world. In order to achieve these objectives, we ask all contributors to conform their writing to a set of spiritual standards.
The primary criteria for contributions to the Center for Theology are to ensure all material is biblical, orthodox, and beneficial to the church.
- A contribution is “biblical” when it conforms to the plain sense of scripture. While there will always be disagreements over the various nuances of the Bible, we wish to avoid overly speculative exegesis that stretches the original meaning of the biblical text past its breaking point. Speculative hermeneutics has its place within Biblical interpretation, but since the Center for Theology is designed to build up the church and provide a public witness to the faith, speculation is discouraged.
- A contribution is “orthodox” when it does not contradict the affirmations of the Nicene Creed or the conclusions of the first seven ecumenical councils. At the same time, we affirm the historical and incarnational character of theology, believing that theology is contextual. Contributors to All Saints’ Center for Theology will work to develop submissions that build upon these foundations of the faith, not establishing “new doctrines” but working to write orthodox theology within our own context.
- A contribution is “beneficial to the church” when it focuses on encouraging, teaching, and building up God’s people. Generally, overly critical pieces are discouraged. Criticism is acceptable so long as it is coupled with constructive advice to the church. Deconstructive criticism of the church will not be allowed. It may be helpful to imagine yourself presenting your contribution to in a Sunday morning educational ministry (such as a Sunday School or confirmation class). If you would be uncomfortable presenting a piece to the church, then it most likely is not appropriate for inclusion in the Center for Theology. Also, take into consideration that the Center is a ministry serving the high school/college educated person who comes to church regularly, wants to know more about the faith, and desires tools to develop their spirituality.
- Avoid engaging the Culture Wars. While the ministry will likely address hot topics within the Culture Wars (e.g. homosexual marriage), please remember that the objective is to build up the church and provide a public witness. The goal is not to sway the broad American culture in one direction or the other, whatever the merits. Rather, our context is within the New England branch of the Anglican Church in North America. So, for example, it would not be advisable to submit a contribution debunking the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade; however, a contribution discussing how the church can serve a pregnant woman who is exploring the option of abortion would be acceptable.
- Consider the New England context of the ministry. While we accept submissions from writers all over the world, our organizational center and “heart” resides in New England. Therefore, we are not trying to present a representative global Christianity. This means many contributions will be limited to authors living and working within New England churches.
- Remember we are a ministry, rather than a profit-motivated magazine, organization, or corporation. We are serving the church’s needs, not ourselves.
- Remember that the methodological principle underlying the spirit of the Center is to capture the theological work of New England Anglicans as it develops within our ministry contexts. This principle can be applied to something as simple as reflecting on a few ideas you had while listening to a sermon or an observation you made while interacting with people in your church. The idea is to think theologically within the church context and capture it on the site.
- Remember that the Center is not attempting to develop a confessional or official theology for ACNA.
- Stick with what you know, rather than what you think you know. The Center is trying to capture theology as it is lived within the church, rather than the university or the library, so focus on the ways in which the truth of orthodox doctrine is expressed in the church.