Thinking Anglicans

'Evangelicals call Williams a prostitute'

That’s the headline over a story by Stephen Bates in today’s Guardian, reporting on the Conference of Reform.

Conservative evangelicals flexed their muscles yesterday by denouncing the Church of England and its leader, the Most Rev Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, as sinful and corrupt, and threatening to refuse to recognise the authority of liberal bishops.

And:

Dr Williams was denounced as a theological prostitute by the Very Rev Phillip Jensen, the controversial Anglican dean of Sydney, addressing the 200 clergy and lay members attending the conference.

Dean Jensen was applauded as his sweeping denunciation of the Church of England took in the Prince of Wales — a “public adulterer”; King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, attacked as a “temple to paganism” for selling the records and compact discs of its famous choir in the ante-chapel; and women priests because, “as soon as you accept women’s ordination everything else in the denomination declines”.

More coverage of the Conference in the Telegraph.

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Dr Christopher ShellJ. C. Fisher Recent comment authors
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J. C. Fisher
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Well, there’s one thing you can say for the “Very Reverend”: _he’s impossible to parody_. Who needs the Church, when you can have the Pharisees instead?

Anthony Howard is dead-on when he says (below) “No situation is ever surer to delight the outsider than the sight of those who purport to uphold standards of forgiveness and charity failing to live up to them.”

[Off to listen to _Godspell_: “Alas, alas for you, lawyers and Pharisees: hypocrites that you be!”]

Dr Christopher Shell
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Dr Christopher Shell

Journalism has always been long on sensationalism and short on close, accurate interpretation.

We need to distinguish between three things:
(1) Being accurately called a spiritual prostitute;
(2) Being accurately said to prostitute principles;
(3) Wishing to befriend prostitutes (as Jesus did).

(3) is something all Christians would approve.
(2) does not necessarily imply (1), since (2) is not the prostitution of oneself but only of the principles one should hold. Often, however, there is little difference.
Both (1) and (2) are things that no Christian should wish to run the risk of.