Topical Tuesday: A Call to Steadfastness

May 16, 2017 by

by Lee Gatiss, Church Society:

Lee Gatiss’s call for evangelicals to remain in the Church of England, with integrity and courage, from last weekend’s Church Society conference.

We all remember how around this time last year the EU Referendum campaign was raging all around us. Passions ran high and there was an abundance of information, and disinformation, flying around. Both sides indulged in scare tactics in order to persuade us to vote in, or out. It was a simple and binary choice.

Many evangelicals continue to consider the same question with regards to the Church of England. Where shall I go to church? Where shall I offer myself to serve in ministry? Is it time to leave the C of E?

This is not, however, quite such a straightforward question. It isn’t “in or out” in as clean a way as the EU Referendum was. Evangelicals will not en masse leave the C of E. There is no fabled blueprint or master plan for doing that. And there never has been.

Evangelicals and Bishops

Reference has been made in newspapers and on social media this week to ‘Credible Bishops’, a discussion document produced for the 2016 ReNew conference. ReNew’s goal is to pioneer, establish, and secure healthy local Anglican churches across the length and breadth of England and this document was designed to stimulate debate at last September’s conference.

It was a useful discussion paper by two individuals (to whom we gave some feedback), on an important subject which must be discussed. There was no vote on it at the conference. It can hardly be said to be the official or widely accepted plan or plot, as some make out.

Recent events, and discussions at General Synod, have served to reduce confidence in the structures of the Church of England. We have often warned of the growing credibility gap. There should be little surprise, however, that Anglican Evangelicals in England are desirous of orthodox episcopal oversight. We have stated this often and clearly. We are eager to remain in the strongest possible fellowship with those in the Church of England, and in the vast majority of global Anglicanism, who are faithful in theology and practice to our historic formularies. Such oversight may emerge in different ways for the benefit of the many churches and the distinct and separate organisations behind the specific goals of the ReNew conference.

Read here

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