There is quite a small club of us who have publicly called on Archbishop Rowan WIlliams to resign. In December last year I did so myself, here. This Februrary I quoted Tom Jackson writing this in a comment on Ruth Gledhill’s blog, and I reported here that an “anonymous senior churchman” had made the same call. Williams has perhaps had a bit of a break since then, but this week at GAFCON, as the BBC reports (and Doug Chaplin mocks, I hope the Nigerian church’s libel lawyers are merciful to him),
Nigerian bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma called for Rowan Williams to resign with immediate effect.
But the real news today is what the leading Anglican Evangelical J.I. Packer ha said. Somewhat surprisingly, Packer is not at GAFCON but in England, in fact in Eastbourne which is on his friend Bishop Wallace Benn’s territory while Benn is away at GAFCON. The following was reported by Hugh Bourne who heard him speak, and quoted by the Church Times blog:
Packer stated that Rowan Williams’ views about homosexuality (documented before becoming A of C, and not changed since) mean that he is not qualified to lead the Anglican Communion and enforce rules layed down at Lambeth in 1998. Big Jim was clear, “Rowan Williams should resign”!
Ruth Gledhill reports what appear to be Packer’s actual words:
I would say with great respect Archbishop, I believe that the way of wisdom is for you to resign. Now that of course is very bold and tough talk and if I wasn’t in my 80’s, I might not feel that I had the gall to answer your question in the direct way that I have done, but that is what I would like to say to the Archbishop and I believe that it would be the kindest thing to say to him.
Ruth wonders if Packer is still a significant figure. Well, Ruth, even in this modern age there is more to being a significant figure than using computers and mobile phones – something we bloggers always need to remember.
Despite my reservations about some of Packer’s views, on this matter I find myself in good, and significant, company.