Thinking Anglicans

Including the Exclusive: how liberal can you be?

The fifth annual Inclusive Church lecture was delivered last Thursday at St Paul’s Cathedral London by the Dean of St Paul’s Dr David Ison.

The text of the lecture is available here.

There is also a video which you can watch from this link.

Details of previous lectures are available here.

Next year, the sixth lecture will take place on Wednesday 25th July 2018 at Leicester Cathedral.
The lecturer will be Ruth Hunt, CEO of Stonewall.
Free tickets will be available nearer the date.


  • David Rowett says:

    An article worthy of a bit of reflection, I think, but the quote from Isaac the Syrian with which he ends is particularly poignant after my encounter with a street preacher in Keswick last Friday, who maintained quite insistently (ably assisted by microphone) that God was not a God of love but a God of Wrath and a God who Judged. Sad to think of an ascetic religious and Father of the Church being such a dangerous, faithless liberal.

  • John Bunyan says:

    This is a profound analysis and it is so helpful to encounter such clear (but not dogmatic) analysis. I shall certainly need to read the lecture again – and again and I hope it is read by many in our Church.
    I shall particularly ponder two parts of it, one minor, one major. The former concerns the use of the word “inclusive” which in my own experience, I have found is used by some churches that in fact definitely exclude those with conservative views. The latter concerns the description of the 4th century creeds and dogmas as “boundaries around a mystery” (3.6.).
    I would be glad to hear more about what is meant by “boundaries”. This, of course, is a far too complex matter to be dealt with in a lecture. We are indeed dealing with a divine Mystery but unitarian Christians including unitarian Anglicans cannot see much more than historical importance in those creeds and dogmas. But thank you indeed, Mr Dean.

  • Br. Bunyan, how are you using the word “unitarian” here? Among critics of the Episcopal Church (mostly) west of the Atlantic, it was used with a capital “U” to suggest that the Episcopal Church has failed in its commitment to Trinitarian faith. On the other hand, it could mean reflecting a social progressivism without a specific theological content; or perhaps those Anglicans who want to see the Communion in some sense “unified.”

  • Sister Mary says:

    (Repeat of my post from first mention of this splendid lecture)

    “He drew a circle that shut me out. Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in.” Edwin Markham

    (Tuesday, 25 July 2017 at 10:05am BST)

  • MarkBrunson says:

    Once again, confusing a religious institution with the wholeness of Church, Christ’s Body. God includes, but even the New Testament calls for discrimination in teachings – what is good for the group and what is not. I have no desire to be “converted” to the conservative gospel, and I cannot see why they would feel the need to be around those who support liberal ideals. God includes them, with or without my – or my church’s – consent to continue to be harangued by them. This is not liberalism, not progressive Christianity, but philosophical hand-wringing and mental masturbation caused by the compulsive all-or-none thinking of those with limited capacity to view holistically.

  • Fr Andrew says:

    “I have found is used by some churches that in fact definitely exclude those with conservative views” @John Bunyan

    All people are included, not all views. That seems right and just to me.

    Being a woman, being disabled, being of a racial minority, being LGBT, being poor, old, young, &c are not ‘views’. You can change your views, and conservatives really should.

  • JCF says:

    FrAndrew, I care less that conservatives *change* their views, than that they stop enforcing them via Power-Over.

    To wit: it’s none of my business whether an Anglican bishop believes that I, queer person, am (if appropriately partnered) actively sinning—as long as he doesn’t attempt to stop his priests (those who believe otherwise!) from celebrating my marriage.

  • Fr Andrew says:

    “FrAndrew, I care less that conservatives *change* their views, than that they stop enforcing them via Power-Over” @JCF

    Well yes, I’d settle for that. My point was to flag up the false equivalency that was being pushed between view’ and being. Conservatives can shut up, I cannot not be gay.

  • Brian Ralph says:

    I wonder if John Bunyan is referring to St James King Street, a beacon of inclusiveness in a diocese known for its exclusion of homosexuals which I personally experienced many times. I have noted his name listed there historically before the time I finally sought refuge despite having to travel 80km each way to worship. When I first visited, after yet again being shown I was not welcome in a typical evangelical parish, I was overwhelmed by hearing a welcoming sermon by one of the lay preachers. I had heard nothing but hatred from my many years of worshipping elsewhere in the diocese. If I had heard the views expressed on TA by John Bunyan, I would not have stayed and become a parishioner. I am sure Rev Bunyan would be welcome as a parishioner but his views would not be welcome if he wanted to expound them from the pulpit. The parishioners can easily hear them elsewhere in that benighted diocese. I love to worship at St James whenever I return to Sydney but have found much more happiness in a Diocese where the Bishop is also accepting and a country where I have full citizenship rights including the right to marry should I so choose. As I proudly state, I am Aussie by birth, Kiwi by choice.

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