by William J. Tighe
A crisis erupted in the Church of Norway in February 1999, and although it is not clear whether it will produce dramatic effects (perhaps even the disestablishment of the Church) or prove but a flash in the pan, it offers material for Christian reflection, as well as piquant analogies to the situation of orthodox believers in many mainline churches of the West.
The Church of Norway is a state church like the churches of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland. It is, like these other church bodies, episcopal in its structure and governance. All the Scandinavian state churches are Lutheran, in that they subscribe to the major Lutheran confessional documents, but they all exhibit a broad spectrum of Christian and subchristian stances. They also all ordain women to their ministry.
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William J. Tighe is Associate Professor of History at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a faculty advisor to the Catholic Campus Ministry. He is a Member of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.
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