Different views of the future of the C of E

Church of England and the future of the orthodox: different views

Latest information of the Church of England’s attempt to hold together people with different views, including the new ‘Programme Board’ for the LLF process, can be found here.

Win it back?

Church Society’s George Crowder insists that God is at work bringing new life to dying Church of England churches, and that he is calling people to this challenging ministry. In Church Society’s Crossway magazine  Lee Gatiss encourages readers to pray for revival in the Church of England, and in the same edition Jake Eggertsen says that because commitment to unity is a “first-order issue”, evangelicals should stay in the C of E, guided by a vision of unity based on truth.

Separate jurisdictions within the C of E?

An article on CEEC’s website says “the Church of England is fundamentally divided” between two incompatible visions of what it means to be Christian. There is not going to be a return to unity based on truth according to this analysis, but rather than leave, those committed to biblical orthodoxy are pursuing a “permanent structural settlement”. Preparation for this involves lay people giving to the “Ephesian Fund” rather than to central funds of liberal Dioceses. CEEC are inviting all evangelical parishes to pray for the Church of England on 12th May.


Anglicanism outside the C of E?

An article in Anglican Futures takes a different view – “the end is nigh for the orthodox in the CofE”, as the institution will clearly be controlled by revisionists for the foreseeable future, and opportunities for quiet, faithful ministry of the kind described by George Crowder are diminishing. A good option may be for stronger C of E churches remaining in the institution for the moment, to plant new congregations under Gafcon’s jurisdiction (eg ANiE).

What is the Anglican Communion?

Andrew Atherstone, respected evangelical scholar of church history and a member of the Anglican Consultative Council, outlines how the current understanding of the Anglican Communion goes back to 1930 and before. He concludes: “the phrase ‘in communion with the See of Canterbury’ should be dropped or revised… It is better to reimagine the Anglican Communion not as a denomination but as an evolving network of ecumenical partnerships, and to remove Canterbury as guardian of the entrance door to the Communion.” However, in his article he doesn’t mention Gafcon (who have courageously provided the impetus for questioning the position of Canterbury in the Communion), or explain the key doctrinal divisions that have led to the fracturing of the Communion. Changing the status of Canterbury within the Communion without insisting on adherence to basic biblical teachings as a condition for membership is an administrative and institutional change which will not help towards Anglican unity in the gospel.

The bible’s teaching on sexual ethics: new perspectives?

Has God changed his mind on sexual ethics?  Andrew Goddard’s review of a new book by respected (formerly conservative) American New Testament scholar Richard Hays and his son Christopher, helpfully surveys the debate. He traces how Hays Snr has changed his mind to an “affirming and inclusive” position on Christianity and LGBT, and summarises the strong reaction from conservatives and revisionists. Essentially, Hays appears to argue that the church should include LGBT people just as the early, predominantly Jewish church included gentiles, that God can change his mind, that we are reading the bible wrong. These of course are not new arguments! Particularly helpful is a link Goddard includes, explaining different evangelical approaches to homosexuality (eg ‘Side B’, ‘Side X, ‘Side Y’).

See also: Why Gentile inclusion doesn’t affirm same-sex marriage, by Rebecca McLaughlin. The Gospel Coalition:  “rather than opening the door for same-sex marriage, Gentile inclusion is the reason we have multiple New Testament texts condemning same-sex sexual relationships.”

Transgender: Cass review

How a cult captured the NHS, by Kathleen Stock, unherd.

The NHS must reveal the fate of 9,000 transgender young people treated by the controversial Tavistock clinic, and doctors should not be allowed to prescribe puberty blockers, the Health Secretary has said in the wake of the Cass Review.

Telegraph reports here and here.

Tom Slater reflects on why ‘trans’ dogma has been allowed to replace science and common sense: “woke ideology is the water our elites swim in. It shows that, for our supposed betters, virtue-signalling and being on ‘the right side of history’ has replaced genuine virtue and rational thought.”

Meanwhile the Church of England, another institution whose leadership was captured by the transgender cult,  is hoping to avoid scrutiny…

 Valuing children Heartshape

The Church of England Education Officer claimed in 2022 that its guidance for schools on LGBT issues ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ does not encourage children to identify as the opposite gender, and is simply about teaching young people to respect and not bully those who are different. In a more recent statement following the publication of the Cass Report, the C of E says it has updated its guidance to align with the review’s findings.

However as this overview of articles from 2017 shows, the Valuing All God’s Children materials showed an acceptance of many of the tenets of gender ideology, namely that some children are created ‘trans’,  and that to ensure a safe environment for them, their belief about themselves should be accepted. Then, in late 2018 the Church of England bishops, acting on a decision by General Synod in 2017, endorsed an adapted form of baptism liturgy celebrating the ‘transition’ and ‘re-naming’ of a transgender person.

Back to 2024: the Cass review has arrived as the cultural attitudes to ‘critical gender theory’ have shifted. Because of the courage of JK Rowling, Maya Forstater, Kathleen Stock and others, the majority now feel free to express their profound unease about transgender. The Church of England leadership, however, has spent years signalling to society’s opinion formers that they were fully in support of this unbiblical and destructive ideology which has resulted in the suppression of common sense speech and ultimately the mutilation of children by medical practitioners. Now the C of E education department (and presumably the Archbishops of Canterbury and York) are pretending that they never colluded with this, and hoping that people have short memories.

See Ian Paul’s article here: The Cass report, children, and the Church of England 

Chesterton’s prophetic quote:

The Declaration of Independence, once the charter of democracy, begins by saying that certain things are self-evident. If we were to trace the history of the American mind…we should find that fewer and fewer things were self-evident, until at last hardly anything is self-evident. So far from it being self-evident to the modern that men are created equal, it is not self-evident that men are created, or even that men are men... We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which furious party cries will be raised against anybody who says that cows have horns, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green.


More commentary:

The Miracle of Forgiveness: The Rwandan Genocide, Thirty Years Later, by Jonathan van Maren

Euthanasia is just eugenics in disguise. Christians must stand against it, by Sam Tomlin, Premier Christianity

Richard Dawkins and ‘cultural Christianity’. After decades attacking what he sees as the unintelligent and dangerous superstition of faith, Dawkins is now concerned about the erosion of “decency” and the need to preserve Christmas carols and beautiful cathedrals.


How to square ‘cultural Christianity’ and ‘non belief’, by Glenn Scrivener, Anglican Ink
Sorry, but Christianity must be more than just cultural, by Peter Harris, TCW
You can’t have Christianity’s fruit without its root, by John Stonestreet, Breakpoint


Praying hands

Prayer points:

• Pray for unity in the gospel and mutual respect among faithful Anglicans who disagree on the best responses to the current problems.

• Pray for the visit in May of Paul Donison, Gafcon General Secretary, to meet key leaders in England.

• Give thanks for a successful visit by three senior leaders from the Church of Uganda, to investigate a possible partnership with Anglican Network in Europe. Pray for wisdom in how to take this forward.

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