Saturday, 1 May 2004

further St Albans reports

The Church Times reports St Albans gives its new dean a mixed welcome.

Dr John’s future congregation at St Albans Abbey reacted warmly when his appointment was announced officially on Sunday by the Sub-dean, Canon Stephen Lake. A larger than usual congregation responded with a spontaneous and prolonged round of applause.
Canon Lake said it was “perfectly reasonable” that some would be concerned about the appointment, but this should be accompanied by “a commitment to honour both the appointment by the Crown and the individual as a person”.

The only “mixed welcome” appears to be among diocesan evangelicals, many of whom are not participating in any protest. The article quotes some of them. But for those who are:

Speaking after Tuesday’s meeting, Canon Nick Bell, Vicar of St Mary’s, Luton, said it was too early to predict how each church would react. “But I only have to look at my own congregation, which is mixed with a lot of African members. They take a very strong view on this and are very upset. At the moment there is a whole variety of possibilities about what we might do, but we want to talk first to the Bishop.

And here is what Richard Inwood, Bishop of Bedford said to the Luton local newspaper:

“Because I take a traditional view of homosexuality, when the appointment of Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading was announced I was unhappy.
“But the situation now is he is living a celibate life and I am content he is living in accordance with Christian morality.”

And nationally the moderate evangelical group Fulcrum issued this Fulcrum Statement on the Appointment of the Dean of St Albans which seems very moderate to me. It concludes:

The Church has always been a place of debate, conflict and generous disagreement. Although Evangelicals have always accepted that there will be occasions when they will have to oppose the views of some in senior office, this does not necessarily require opposing their appointment to such office. In relation to human sexuality Fulcrum is supportive of the House of Bishops’ report Some Issues in Human Sexuality and therefore disagrees with Jeffrey John’s personal interpretation of Scripture in this area. It is important that all those who hold senior office show respect for the church’s teaching even when they disagree with it, and Fulcrum therefore welcomes Jeffrey John’s commitment to uphold rather than campaign against the church’s official teaching and to live within its guidelines. We continue to pray for him and the new diocese in which he will serve as he prepares to take up his ministry.

The Church of England Newspaper predictably hypes the level of opposition:
Church on brink of split and repeats the erroneous claim that Jeffrey John preached on inclusiveness last Sunday, see here for explanation.

The CEN also carries a discussion about Establishment of the Church of England prompted by this appointment:
Brian McHenry Establishment: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Tim Bradshaw Establishment: why the system needs reform

Bradshaw starts out:

Establishment of the Church of England has become a hot topic again because of the Prime Minister’s appointment of the new Dean of St Albans, and the Dean’s evident determination to forward his own controversial ethical agenda from the outset of his ministry there.

which suggests he simply hasn’t read the transcript of the press conference, or listened to it on the radio, as there is not a shred of evidence in what was actually said there for this false accusation concerning Jeffrey John’s “agenda”.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 1 May 2004 at 1:29 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: St Albans

The concluding statement by Fulcrum was a quite reasonable and, dare I say, Christian response. Makes me wish the Evangelicals on this side of the pond could calm down enought to get to this point.

Hmmm…perhaps the UK simply has a good effect on people. How about if we trade you Fulcrum for the American Anglican Council for awhile ? ;)

Posted by: David Huff at May 1, 2004 03:32 PM

They (the AAC) would be very welcome over here (England)- anything to assist faithful Anglicans in the struggle agsinst the destruction of their Church by apostates, gnostics and secular society. Why is the Church (esp. in north America) declaring inclusivity to all but at the same time persecuting orthodox Bible believing Christians? Why are they being pushed out of the Church for not supporting trendy, non-Biblical innovations? Can I still receive the transforming love of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Church? I know the answer, either I walk through the door of my own free will or if I don’t, I’m pretty sure you’ll assist me! Yep that’s inclusivity…

Posted by: J Arthur at May 2, 2004 09:11 PM

Why is the Church (esp. in north America) declaring inclusivity to all but at the same time persecuting orthodox Bible believing Christians?

Sir, if you had ever, truly experienced the real persecution of an oppressed minority you wouldn’t be making this comment. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the most glaring fallacies of logic the so-called “orthodox” make:

Not being agreed with is not the same as being persecuted.

Posted by: David Huff at May 2, 2004 09:28 PM

I’m sorry but I do feel aggrieved that faithful Christians are expected to jettison 2,000 years of Biblical teaching just to make a favoured group feel better about itself. I would guess that anyone holding this view would not be tolerated in your church. Presumably they would only be made welcome if they would accept re-education, correct?

Posted by: J Arthur at May 2, 2004 10:11 PM

Not at all. We have people on several “sides” in our congregation on these issues. I’m probably one of the more centrist/progressive ones. So far, they haven’t shown me the door :)

I also have no problem with you feeling aggrieved that your Biblical intrepretation isn’t agreed with by everyone (though I would argue that it is your interpretation and not “2,000 years of Biblical teaching.” There is only One who knows completely, and we are not Him).

However, I still stand by my statement that not being agreed with, however it might upset you, is not the same as being persecuted…

Posted by: David Huff at May 4, 2004 02:27 AM