UK education chief inspector suggests Anglican theology is extremist

Feb 3, 2018 by

by Julian Mann, writing for Anglican Mainstream:

In trying to isolate the Christian Institute as an extremist organisation in her speech to the Church of England Foundation for Education Leadership on Thursday (1/2/18), the head of UK schools inspectorate, Ofsted, was actually attacking historic Anglican theology.

Here is the wider context of Amanda Spielman’s remarks about the Christian Institute:

‘Rather than adopting a passive liberalism that says “anything goes” for fear of causing offence, schools leaders should be promoting a muscular liberalism. That sort of liberalism holds no truck for ideologies that want to close minds or narrow opportunity. Occasionally, that will mean taking uncomfortable decisions or having tough conversations. It means not assuming that the most conservative voices in a particular faith speak for everyone – imagine if people thought the Christian Institute was the sole voice of Anglicanism. And it means schools must not be afraid to call out practices, whatever their justification, that limit young people’s experiences and learning in school.’

The essential point that needs to be made in response to this is that the Christian Institute’s beliefs about God are quite consistent with those of the Church of England as expressed in its 39 Articles of Religion. Of course, many Anglicans do not agree with the 39 Articles, but these doctrinal standards remain live in the Church of England. Every time a bishop licenses a new vicar in an Anglican parish church, they get mentioned as a repository of Christian truth to which the Church of England has borne witness, ‘led by the Holy Spirit’.

Here is what both the Church of England and the Christian Institute believe about God the Holy Trinity, as expressed in Article 1 of the 39: ‘There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.’

Here is what both organisations believe about eternal salvation exclusively through faith in Jesus Christ, as expressed in Article 18 of the 39: ‘Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved’.

None of us has to be a professional theologian to understand that the God which both the Church of England and the Christian Institute believe in is a completely different being from, for example, the Allah of the Quran, which explicitly denies both the Trinity and the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation.

Are these convictions among those narrow, ultra-conservative ideologies which Ms Spielman believes school leaders must ‘call out ‘because they limit young people’s experiences and learning’?

All freedom-loving people in Britain should be very concerned if they were because teachers exercise unusual power over children, particularly at primary school level.  A teacher ‘calling out’ a belief about the nature of God which a child might express in a classroom is far from an exercise of soft power.

If this is the direction British state education is going to take, some Anglican parents who believe in the Articles of their own Church might feel the need to withdraw their children from state education altogether. As an expression of their freedom of association, which the state in a free society should not disrupt, they might even be moved to create fresh, voluntarist educational institutions in which their children will not be strong-armed out of orthodox Christianity by ‘muscular liberalism’.

Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire –

Read also: Institute to Ofsted: Don’t use liberalism as a cover for secularism from The Christian Institute (including videos from Dr David Landrum of EA and Dr Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream on Ofsted’s confused ideas)

Resist extremists in schools, says head of OFSTED, including Christian extremists, by Ed Thornton, Church Times

and Head of Ofsted goes further: Christian Institute email update

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