Wednesday, 4 June 2008

General Synod not to discuss motion on Islam

For background to this matter, see the Church Times blog entry General Synod to debate evangelising other faiths.

Now, the Telegraph has a report by Martin Beckford headlined Church of England accused of censoring debate on Islam. Regardless of the headline, it appears definite that the item will not be debated in July.

A spokesman for the Church of England insisted the debate on the missionary role of clergy had only been dropped because the other Private Member’s Motion had more signatures.

He said: “Owing to time constraints, the Business Committee has been able to schedule only one such motion for July, on the subject of Church Tourism, which heads the list in terms of the number of signatures from members.”

This is indeed the case, see the list here.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 4 June 2008 at 3:55pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | General Synod
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Someone who works for General Synod was telling me a few weeks ago about the significant pressure that was developing on Synod's agenda; indeed he was thinking it was quite likely that an expensive November Synod might have to be called such were the number of motions and amount of legislative business that was emerging.

So, despite conservative conspiracy theorists, there's no attempt to stifle debate (it's now bound to come up in other debates), simply the usual procedures being followed.

I can't admit to being a little disappointed that we're not debating it this time round, however, because I was preparing a stonker of a speech against the motion!

Posted by: Simon on Wednesday, 4 June 2008 at 4:46pm BST

Now, here's how this works. Synod is asked to make a statement on the uniqueness of Christ and the appropriateness of "evangelizing" other faiths. Synod, one hopes, is not willing to come out and say that everyone who isn't a Christian is going to Hell and the Church must seek the salvation of these people by any means necessary. It might prefer to make some statement about the uniqueness of the Christian message, even respectfully affirm that we believe the truth of our message for all humankind. It might even claim that Evangelization is better done by example than threat of condemnation. After all, fear of what will happen if you DON'T believe is a poor reason for being a Christian. This would not be enough, and Synod would then be accused of abandoning the Great Commission, of denying the uniqueness of Christ, and on and on. You know the drill. This will all happen now anyway, since refusal even to debate it will be seen as effectively the same thing. Maybe, to quote a Ship of Fools meme, we ought all to get our lawn chairs and imbibation of our choice, have a seat, and watch the show.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 4 June 2008 at 5:57pm BST

Don't forget the popcorn, Ford.

That's the classic conservative line, apart from "the faith once delivered," that "pluralism" denies the "uniqueness of the Christian message." Not to mention that the fall of Christianity in public life has been responsible for the rise in crime, etc. (as one former liberal who swung the other way told me early last May).

Posted by: Ren Aguila on Thursday, 5 June 2008 at 1:37am BST

Exactly, Ren. We were society's moral arbitor for so long, happily forcing everyone to do what we said, that we now think that was some sort of God-given state, that we SHOULD do this. The anger, fear, and I honestly believe, pain that many conservatives feel about this makes it impossible for them to even consider that maybe we should look, as Christians OUGHT to look, for other ways to bring the Gospel into the public arena. Look at the triumphalism in the continued claims that liberalism is causing profound drops in church attendance. It is very clear to me that what is driving that is, frankly, hatred of Christianity. There is abundant public mockery of a caricature of conservative Christianity. Liberal Christianity doesn't even seem to be on the radar, which should give Liberals pause: if they are not prominent enough to be ridiculed by people who hate the Church, they aren't having much impact. But it's as if the things being mocked are not even visible to conservatives, so great is their anger at "liberals" that they can only put the blame there.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 5 June 2008 at 4:18pm BST
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