Thinking Anglicans

Does the Future have a Church of England?

Updated Tuesday evening

The Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt, has expressed his opinions on this subject in a lecture, given recently at St Paul’s School of Theology in St Helier, Jersey.
(The Channel Islands are annexed to the Diocese of Winchester.)

You can read the full text of his lecture on the diocesan website, at Bishop Michael on the Future of the Church of England.

Here’s a teaser:

…I am now going to examine some of the specific questions, challenges, realities in the life of the Church of England today which, I think, may be causing people to ask the question that is the title of this Lecture – or at least to think that such a title is worth offering to me, and I to think it worth accepting! I could have arranged them in more than one order; the order that I have chosen is only sometimes that of the importance that I see them having, the level of threat that I see them posing!

Disestablishment
Secularisation of politics and public life
Women and the Episcopate
Same-sex sexual behaviour,
Decline from orthodox teaching
Division of the Anglican Communion
Islam
Ecumenical developments
Financial Pressures
Absorption in, distraction by, these!

Tuesday update

Andrew Brown has commented on this lecture at Cif Belief in Secularism threatens British Christianity, says bishop.

… I remember debating this last question with him from one of the twin pulpits of St Mary le Bow, and how impressed I was by his utter imperviousness to arguments from educated secular opinion.

Now he has published a talk he gave recently on the threats to the continuation of the Church of England, and it’s clear that he thinks that educated secular opinion is one of the main hostile forces facing his church…

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Marshall Scott
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An interesting paper, certainly. If it convinces me of anything, it is that Winchester misunderstands, not so much the polity of the Episcopal Church, but the culture in which it ministers. That culture he clearly does not understand, and just as clearly fears. I have heard the comments of the importance of the Church of England, and of its Establishment, for freedom of religious expression, including of religious minorities, in the UK. I wonder whether those in those religious minorities are quite so sanguine. I find that, at the end, I agree with Winchester, if with differences in detail: there… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

“Same-sex sexual behaviour”

Ah, yes: the obsession continues.

Lord have mercy!

toby forward
Guest

He forgot to mention the dreadfully low quality of the bishops when he made his list.

john
Guest
john

Decent lecture from unexpected source. At the very least, although conservative (‘reactionary’, etc.), he doesn’t have this unseemly yearning for approbation form the present pontiff.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

Esgob fawr !

Same sex sex is as bad as –wait for it — divided opinion, woman bishops, ecumenism and our cousin venerable religion Islam !

It’s not all bad then !

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

But surely Winchester will be up for retirement soon, so it isn’t only the future of the C of E that is at stake, perhaps !

Establishment effectively restrains the more conservative to nutty elements within the national church who would otherwise have been espousing the ill-fated ‘convenant’ and the condemnation of lesbian & gay relationships, insstead of which the Church Pensions Board caters for the civil partners of the church’s ministers. (cf Pensions Board and Board of Finance literature).

If nothing else.

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

He really does have to recognise that what has changed – whether he likes it or not – is that gay relationships have become legally acceptable , and are becoming much more socially mainstream. In this scenario the Church Established will have to learn to live with this reality.

JPM
Guest
JPM

Let’s not forget that for all Scott-Joynt’s talk of traditional sexual morality, he is an outspoken advocate for remarriage after divorce (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Scott-Joynt#Opinions).

In other words, this fierce defender of morals is a prominent apologist for adultery.

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“I have noted how this prevailing ‘non-faith’ is among the ‘drivers’ of moves towards the disestablishment of the Church of England, because of the position and opportunities that we still hold in this society. It is also, of course, a cause of the saturation of our culture with sexual imagery and language, with the assumption that accompanies it that any kind of sexual behaviour, that is adult, consensual and not abusive, is owed approval, support and defence.” The Bishop of Winchester – Bishop Scott-Joynt, whose overal lecture seems to be consonant with his affinity, generally, to the Global South agenda… Read more »

john
Guest
john

I re-read it. Perhaps my initial reaction was superficial. And I certainly don’t agree with the singling-out of same-sex etc, or the ‘heroes’ praised. Nevertheless, all told, I don’t think it is such a bad effort. Surely, we should all be trying to build on what is shared and positive rather than constantly highlighting the negative? My own primary concern is the absolutely pathetic numbers attending our church – and many churches I know about. What we all need is to put in a bit more honest effort.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

‘What we all need is to put in a bit more honest effort.’

Would it were that simple.

I think times are changing, there’s a shift in paradigm underway.

The Churches seem to be very very gradually dying out. Maybe Chrisitianity has had it too. And maybe the planet as we have known it. The dodo poor creature was unable to adapt, as cataclimic change befell it and time ran out.

We can still aim to be sueful oops that should be useful(!) and happy in the meantime though (istm).

I like the idea of sueful hwatever it may be…

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

JPM: In other words, this fierce defender of morals is a prominent apologist for adultery.

Absolutely and let everyone go to the Fort Worth (seceders Iker ) website and see their article on the decline of TEC….not a mention of divorce, alongside women priests and homosexuality….

Why?

Because many of those in the “moral diocese” are re-married divorcees!

Motes and beams!

toby forward
Guest

Just two points from Robert Ian Williams’ last contribution.
First, I’m glad to see that despite his journey across the Tiber he still uses a Church of England Bible that talks of ‘motes and beams’.
Second, that he should remember that the Roman Catholic Church runs divorce mills under the guise of tribunals which declare perfectly genuine marriages never to have happened. Annulment is a convenient fiction.

Lister Tonge
Guest
Lister Tonge

Since the Church has warmly embraced the present Prime Minister’s wish to walk away from all involvement in hierarchical patronage it will have to suffer the consequences. How can we expect to be Eastablished whilst wanting freedom from Government involvement at that level? By letting this major constitutional change slip through, we have lost any hope of a hearing for ‘reasons’ why any of our bishops should be ‘ex officio’ members of the House of Lords. Whatever one thinks of these things, surely no-one seriously believes that we should be allowed to have our cake and eat it.

Richard
Guest
Richard

I like Andrew Brown’s comment that the Bishop thinks that “educated secular opinion is one of the main hostile forces facing his church”.

In other words – don’t think, just do as you’re told!

(And L Roberts – why did you call him ‘esgob fawr’, a ‘great bishop’?)

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“By letting this major constitutional change slip through, we have lost any hope of a hearing for ‘reasons’ why any of our bishops should be ‘ex officio’ members of the House of Lords” Sorry, but seen from this side of the Atlantic, this is kind of amusing. Why are there any reasons for bishops sitting in the House of Lords? No other part of the Commonwealth has bishops in its Upper House, and we seem to do fine. I think it would be a very good thing indeed to get the bishops out of government. The Anglican Church really needs… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

I do, however, know how to spell and punctuate better than would be assumed from the last post.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

The bishop’s ignorance of 19th century ecclesiastical history is showing. The quote which he attributes to Bishop Blomfield of London viz.
“The Church of England as it now stands no human power can save.”
comes in fact from Thomas Arnold, Headmaster of Rugby.

Perhaps there should be a Bad History page along the lines of
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/series/badscience

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

My Decoding of Scott Joynt, channeling (among others) Carey, Akinola, Nazir-Ali, and ???: 1.Following Jesus of Nazareth simply is Christendom, period. One is the other. (Tell that to the early church?) 2.Secular best practices (inquiry, hypothesis testing) are innately toxic to Christendom. (Having lunch with Dawkins, any time soon, dear bishop? I think you two will get along famously, mutually dedicated to arm wrestling for the Great Prize of sole intellectual domination and control) 3.So far as global cultural variations go: There can be only One. Thus, do we not already know who the towering, dominating cultural One is? No… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest
Father Ron Smith

“”The Church of England as it now stands no human power can save.” (Bp. Blomfield? – cc Winchester)
comes in fact from Thomas Arnold, Headmaster of Rugby. – Simon –

Just one more case Simon of ‘The wrong School of Theology’?

Perhaps Doctor Arnold was speaking in that very context – of the Old School Tie being no longer relevant to Anglican Church philosophy regarding preferential ‘preferment’. – Just a thought!

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

drdanfee: great post, you’ve summed him up perfectly.

Fr Ron Smith: Yes, and they don’t come much more Old School Tie than My Lord of Winchester – double-barrelled Old Wykehamist that he is.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

(And L Roberts – why did you call him ‘esgob fawr’, a ‘great bishop’?)

Posted by: Richard on Wednesday, 18 March 2009 at 10:42am GMT

Sorry all I meant really wsa the expletive ‘Esgob!’ and got carried away ( as in “esgob-with-knobs on”)

john
Guest
john

‘What we all need is to put in a bit more honest effort.’

Would it were that simple.

I’m not claiming it’s simple, merely suggesting that from one perspective ‘we have more in common’ etc. (I’m perfectly well aware that from another liberals have more in common with secularists). If we agree, as presumably we do, that going to church is on balance (allowing for all the horrible churches, etc) a good thing, then presumably also we should all be trying to promote this. As far as I can see, on almost all sides, ‘honest effort’ is in short supply.

Rev L Roberts
Guest
Rev L Roberts

oh I’m not so sure john.

I find that the C of E is very poor at recognizing, let alone supporting, or celebrating ‘the honest effort’ of its members.

Very poor