Bishop of Oxford’s St Ebbe’s Sermon Epitomizes Relational Dilemma for Reformed Anglicans

Apr 22, 2017 by

by Julian Mann, VOL:

On Palm Sunday in St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, their new diocesan Bishop, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, made a statement that epitomises the relational dilemma facing Reformed Anglicans in the Church of England.

Introducing his excellent sermon on our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as recorded in Matthew 21, Dr Croft said:

‘It’s my hope to come as a servant to this very large Diocese, to respect and honour all traditions within it and cherish the life of the Church in its many different forms and do my best to lead us in God’s mission.’

It would be quite wrong to impugn the Christian sincerity of Dr Croft’s desire to serve God’s Church. His sermon was most edifying, biblically faithful and Christ-honouring. Lord willing, he will do a lot of good in Oxford Diocese.

But the difficulty for a Reformed Anglican church such as St Ebbe’s surely comes in their Bishop’s apparently intentional commitment to theological diversity within the Church of England. He went further than saying that he wished to serve the churches of the Diocese in their various traditions; he declared that he wished to respect and honour all traditions within the Diocese.

Is it his expectation that St Ebbe’s should do the same within the theologically very diverse Diocese of Oxford?

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