Anglican Mainstream: Review of the Year in Blog Posts

Dec 30, 2014 by

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A selection of editorial articles through the year of 2014, by Andrew Symes. Grouped according to topics: Mission; Church divisions over sex and marriage; the Church in Africa; Marriage and Singleness; Christian belief, politics and culture.

Articles about Mission:

Epiphany 2014. 5/01/14 We remember the visit of Magi from the East to Bethlehem. Are we aware that despite the rise of militant Islam, increasing numbers of people from far off Eastern lands, particularly Iran, are coming to Christ? There are growing numbers of Iranian converts in Britain – some are coming to Anglican churches and even getting ordained in the C of E. What can we learn?

Church growth: time to get serious. 5/02/14 How do we do mission when the majority of the population believe that Christian doctrine is incomprehensible and Christian ethics, especially on sex and marriage, is immoral and toxic? Do we concentrate on “experience of God, being in community and speaking the language of hope”? Should Gospel teaching and biblical morality be kept within the walls of the church?

The meaning and cost of witness. 4/03/14 We have got used to the idea of ‘friendship evangelism’, sharing our faith, and ‘witness’ being synonymous. Effective witness then involves being seen as friendly and nice. However in societies where the Church is persecuted, true witness may involve prophetic critique, and suffering for it, rather than affirming the culture and playing down the need for repentance.

Palm Sunday – let’s talk about Jesus. 8/04/14 At Easter, do we gloss over the more uncomfortable aspects of Christ? What might the ministry of the real Jesus look like in and through the contemporary church?

Rotherham: a call to mission. 28/08/14 The child abuse scandals in the poorer parts of our cities show the failure of political correctness, and offer a challenge to evangelical churches.

Lambeth Prayer Community – the need for a Gospel Prior. 16/09/14 Renew: united, confessing, missional. 24/09/14 The nativity and the church’s witness. 18/12/14

Articles about Church divisions over sex and marriage

2014: the beginning of facilitated schism? 7/01/14 Would it be better for the Church of England to admit that there irreconcileable differences in fundamental beliefs between ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’, rather than preserving unity which creates internal tension and confuses the message to the outside world? Might it be possible to “walk apart” graciously, and how might that look?

The story so far and the implications. 18/02/14 The February Synod heard the Archbishop’s hope for continued church unity despite differences over sexuality. It was followed by a statement by the House of Bishops of same sex marriage. This article looks at the most likely scenario to unfold.

Gay Marriage and the Church’s response. 11/03/14 How have evangelicals responded to the imminent change in the law, allowing people of the same sex to marry?

Same sex marriage – are we allowed to pray about it? 18/03/14 Many churches were reluctant to hold prayer meetings for the nation in the light of the momentous changes about to occur with regard to marriage.

The weekend when Britain changed. 4/04/14 Reflection on the first same sex weddings.

Can those who started the conflict promote peace? 3/06/14 Some of the radical liberal Anglican leaders from USA and Canada, who divided the Communion by pursuing an agenda which resulted in the consecration of gay Bishops, continue to persecute orthodox believers through lawsuits. But amazingly they are now lecturing the world on the importance of ‘reconciliation’, and have some important backers.

Oxford Faith Debate: tragic drama at St Mary’s. 22/11/14 My experience of debating with heterodox Church leaders in front of a hostile audience.

Articles responding to relentless, coordinated pressure on the Church to change its teaching on sex and marriage:

Vicky Beeching is gay: why it matters and what the church needs to do. 19/8/14 Evangelical charismatic worship leader Vicky Beeching ‘comes out’ and uses the secular media to pressurize the Church to change.

Changing Attitude: a response.  8/09/14 Gay rights lobby group Changing Attitude’s open letter to the Bishops demands the rescinding of the February 15 statement on marriage.

Bishop Alan Wilson: please stick to the day job! 30/09/14 The Bishop of Buckingham promotes his heretical book – is he doing his job as a Bishop?

The Gospel according to Richard Coles 15/10/14 This time its Revd Richard Coles of Radio 4 and QI fame promoting his own view of Christian faith, claiming he discovered God’s love through sex with strangers.

Anglican Mainstream questions Oxford’s neutrality in shared conversation process. 2/11/14 A critique of the advice to clergy sent out by Diocesan staff following the Bishops’ experience of shared conversations in September.

Articles about the Church in Africa and the influence of Western cultural neo-imperialism.

The best way to help minorities in Africa. 25/2/14 The Church is Africa has a vital role in bringing Gospel values to bear in society – but it must not be dictated to by special interest groups in the West. Gay people and other minorities are actually more at risk from hostile elements in society when Western liberals aggressively promote their “rights”, while the Church is best placed to promote civility and faithfulness.

Anglicans in Congo identify biblical teaching on sex as vital for church and society. 25/03/14   See also the full reports on my trip to DRC in July:   World Aids Day: Church voices still need to be heard. 30/11/14 If the church fully accepts homosexual relationships, will this help those suffering from AIDS in Africa? An exchange of views in the Church Times.

Articles about marriage and singleness

The gift of singleness and the challenge of marriage. 28/03/14 A brief summary of the teaching of Wes Hill and Tim Keller.

Learning something from the French. 6/5/14 La Manif Pour Tous is a coalition in France supporting heterosexual marriage, family, and the importance of both parents for children’s development. They have mobilized hundreds of thousands to demonstrate in support of their aims, and against philosophies which undermine the family. What can we learn?

Sexuality and spirituality – an attempt at understanding. 3/9/14 A much longer piece than usual, reflecting on the Vicky Beeching episode, and drawing on helpful insights from Christopher West.

Christian singleness epidemic – but why? 7/10/14 Report on a conference on the subject: what was said and what should have been said.   The French pro-family movement: lessons for Anglican Evangelicals. 28/10/14 La Manif Pour Tous talk about marriage and family in clear, positive ways that we can learn from.

My visit to the ACNA Assembly

Articles on sex, politics and culture  

Implications of the SOCE ban. 16/01/14 2014 saw the beginnings of an attempt by MP’s to introduce a law which would make it illegal to offer counselling or any kind of therapy designed to help clients wanting to move away from homosexual orientation. How should Christians respond to this?

“A Christian Country” – but what kind of Christianity?  22/4/14 Before the call later in the year for schools to instill “British values”, David Cameron spoke at Easter of the importance of Christianity for the nation – but how did he define it? Archbishop Welby urged patience for the C of E’s ‘conversation process’ about homosexuality – but why?

Archbishop Welby receives standing ovation at Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. 17/6/14 An insight into the Archbishop’s thinking, and the relationship between Church and State.

Back to school next week: have we got our ‘equality statements’ ready? 26/8/14 Increasing government interference in schools threaten freedom of expression for example view on marriage and family.

Only a game, or a life and death matter? 23/10/14 A parable about culture wars, using the game of cricket…       26/08/14

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