Recently I have been engaged on a blogging discussion on the Gay Marriage debate in California. you can view it at http://www.theolog.org/blog/2008/05/gay-marriage-in.html#comments
if you so desire.
toward the end you will see a posting by 'Walter' who suggests that those on opposing sides of the 'Gay' issue should just admit that we are not 'in communion,' a very Anglican type view. He even suggests that we are not practicing the same religion.
Baptists historically have not based their 'communion' with one another based on creedal affirmations as would Anglicans or Presbyterians. We associate with each other practically for education and mission. And historically we allow each other 'Soul Freedom.' This is interesting. I have no problem considering myself in 'communion' with Walter because I both expect and respect the exercise of Soul Freedom. God has given both Walter and I a brain to use in discerning and applying the scriptures. Diversity should not frighten a Baptist, we should expect it. I can still be in communion with someone who disagrees with me about one issue or another. Apparently for Walter we must agree to be in communion.
Paul addresses this idea in Romans 14. The Roman church(es) are in disagreement about dietary restrictions (staying kosher or eating meat sacrificed to idols) and about the correct day to worship (saturday sabbath or sunday sabbath). Paul expect diversity and instructs the church to allow each to do as s/he feels lead as long as they do so 'for the Lord.' Paul expects and respects a diversity of understandings of the scripture and instructs the church to be open to such a thing.
so I consider myself to be in communion with walter, even though we disagree. It seems to me that we as a world-wide church would be making a much more effective witness to the world if we would value communion over agreement, engage in spirited debate and then affirm each other as sister and brother in Christ.
'You may say that I'm a dreamer...'