The Windsor Report 2004

Adiaphora

  1. Such holding together across differences within Anglicanism has made use of the vital doctrine of adiaphora (literally, “things that do not make a difference”). This is explained further in section B. For the moment, we simply note that Anglicans have always recognised a key distinction between core doctrines of the church (remembering that ethics, liturgy and pastoral practice, if authentically Christian, are all rooted in theology and doctrine) and those upon which disagreement can be tolerated without endangering unity[21]. Paul urged Christians in Corinth and Rome to recognise some matters in this way (what to eat or not to eat being a prime example). When something is seen in this way, an individual church, at whatever level, can make its own decisions on the matter.

  2. The third reason therefore why the present crisis has arisen is that many within the Episcopal Church (USA) and the Diocese of New Westminster hold to the opinion, at least by implication, that the questions they were deciding were things upon which Christians might have legitimate difference, while large numbers of other Anglicans around the world did not regard them in this way.