These breakaway Anglican ordinations are a wake-up call

Dec 4, 2017 by

by David Baker, Christian Today:

On Thursday this week a potentially historic event will take place. Nine men will be ordained as Anglican ministers – but not in the Church of England.

Instead, as Christian Today has reported, they will be part of the new Anglican Mission in England (AMiE), a grouping formed in reaction to a perceived liberal drift in the C of E. AMiE is linked to the international conservative Anglican movement GAFCON – and even has its own ‘missionary bishop’, Andy Lines, who is also director of Crosslinks, a mission agency about a century old.

It would be easy in the black and white world of social media to default to one of two extremes: either regarding this latest move as shocking schism to be roundly condemned, or, alternatively, to see this latest grouping as the one true hope for all genuinely faithful and discerning Anglicans. But of course, as with most of life, it’s more complex than that. So what does this development tell us in the light of the wider issues facing the worldwide Anglican Communion?

1. It’s a wake-up call for Anglicans. Nine new church ministers is scarcely comparable with the thousands of already-ordained Church of England ministers in the established church. Nonetheless, it is a sad indictment of mainstream Anglicanism that these men either wouldn’t – or couldn’t – be ordained in the C of E. They are undoubtedly conservative on the issues of women’s ministry and sexual morality – but no more so than many Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians of course. Their views are well within the mainstream.

Most Anglican bishops may regard the AMiE ordinations as a sideshow – but they ought to be concerned if thoughtful, committed and gifted believers no longer feel (rightly or wrongly) that the Church of England has a place for them. And if they are secretly rather glad to be rid of people like this then they have some real soul-searching to do.

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