Why I can’t in conscience write for the Church of England Newspaper any more

Dec 29, 2017 by

by Julian Mann:

I have been contributing articles regularly for the Church of England Newspaper (CEN) for the past ten years and have found its editor Colin Blakely very congenial to write for.  He is courteous to his writers in contrast to the editors of a couple more thoroughly evangelical publications I have written for.

It is a personally wretched decision for me to have to stop writing for Colin. But his decision to become a trustee of the Ozanne Foundation, which is actively campaigning to change the received biblical teaching of the Church of England on sexual ethics, has made this necessary.

I believe that the Ozanne Foundation is promoting false teaching which if followed will put the eternal souls of many professing Christians in peril.

It is not that I refuse to write for publications where revisionist views are aired. Newspapers are not pulpits. They are forums for debate.

But I draw the line where the editor of a publication purporting to serve the Church of England becomes an active campaigner for an organisation promoting false teaching to Christ’s dishonour and the detriment of his Body.

Some biblically orthodox Anglicans will not agree with me and will continue to write for CEN to argue for the truth. That is their choice. I will not claim that I have got easy answers about how to respond practically and relationally to the corrosive false teaching on the rampage in the Church of England. Such a claim would be arrogant in the extreme.

But my understanding of the necessity to distance myself from false teachers was enormously helped by a recent sermon on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans by the Reverend William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s Bishopsgate in the City of London. Mr Taylor was preaching on Romans 16v17-20:

 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you’ (NIV).

Teaching this passage in its context in Romans 16, namely Paul’s extensive personal greetings to his fellow workers for the gospel in Rome, Mr Taylor showed that the avoidance of false teachers who undermine the gospel is necessary for the proclamation and preservation of the message of God’s saving love in Christ.

So for me this decision not to write for CEN any more is an attempt to give practical expression to this New Testament principle of ‘unavoidable avoidance’ for the sake for the gospel of eternal salvation from God’s wrath on sin through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge in Sheffield Diocese – www.oughtibridgechurch.org.uk

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