Monday, June 19, 2006

Trouble in the Church of England

I never thought the day would come when I would agree with the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester. That day has dawned.

In an
interview with the Daily Telegraph, Bishop Nazir-Ali said that the schism in the Church of England between traditionalists and liberals had grown so wide that compromise was impossible. He warned that in allowing for liberal values, the Church was in danger of leaving the Bible behind as its standard reference point.

The Bishop also made the frightening statement that there appeared to be 'two religions' in the Church of England. It is frightening because he is right, and we are headed for big trouble if we continue this way.

I am now going one step further than the Bishop. I believe that in order to uphold the integrity of the Bible, the Church of England should split. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, must be bold enough to expel from the communion those who would wish to dilute the teachings of the Bible. The Church of England cannot afford to become what Bishop Ali describes as an 'options church', where we live by preferences.

The Bible does not advocate a 'salad-bar religion', where we pick and choose which parts we would like, and ignore the others.

There has always been a place in Christianity for tolerance of different opinion and belief. There is nothing wrong with that. The problem arises where those advocating different beliefs choose to impose them on the Church, in utter disregard of its long-standing doctrines.
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Blogger Faith said...

Amen. Of course, there is one more option. Those that hold true to the Bible and reject the salad bar approach to religion, could rejoin the original Church from which it split in the first place. King Henry VIII was given the title "Defender of the Faith" by the Catholic Church for standing firm against Protestantism. The only reason that we have a Church of England today is because the Pope refused to allow Henry VIII the unbiblical right to divorce and remarry. Any further differences developed over time as the Church of England gravitated towards Protestantism as a way of coping with its split from Catholicism, but not through any true rejection of Catholic doctrine.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Bel said...

Excellent point, faith.

I agree wholeheartedly.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Oliver McCarthy said...

Anglicans love the idea of a "schism" for the same reason that David Cameron's supporters want a "Clause Four" moment. The Catholic Church's "Clause Four moment" came when Archbishop Lefebvre was supposedly excommunicated in Switzerland in the late 1980s. It was supposed to be a sign that the Catholic Church had modernised, moved on, etc. In fact of course the excommunication was no more valid than Tony Blair's abolition of Clause Four of the Socialists' constitution in the early '90s was the death-knell of Socialism in this country: but commentators enjoyed the Lefebvre "excommunication" so much that they've been sniffing around looking for another one ever since.

The result is that a non-crisis in a non-church is now being blown up into a non-schism. In fact of course the whacky antics of the liberal fringe in the US will probably strengthen the C of E, as old-fashioned southern types like the Bishop of Fort Worth appeal directly to the Archbishop of Canterbury for support. And this trend too has its precedent in the Catholic Church with "collegiality". The idea was that by encouraging trendy bishops the Church would disintegrate. In fact the opposite has happened, with trendy bishops' becoming increasingly irrelevant in the face of a newly resurgent papalism under Pope John Paul II (and his successors).

Sorry, C of E! We've been here before, and it's not as exciting as you'd think.

11:11 PM  

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