Bishop Broadbent to stay away from Lambeth

A few months ago I was writing a lot about the Lambeth Conference, and about the “alternative” GAFCON conference. Well, GAFCON is already here (but I have not yet kept up to date with reports from it), and Lambeth is coming up very soon.

One of the things which I did write was about Bishop Pete Broadbent of Willesden (still the only genuine Church of England bishop to comment on this blog):

I would be surprised if Broadbent stays away from Lambeth, although he might also attend GAFCON.

But now the Telegraph reports (thanks to the Church TImes blog for the link, also for linking to this blog on another matter) that Broadbent will be absent from Lambeth, along with Bishops Nazir-Ali and Benn whose absence has long been announced. This is confirmed in this Fulcrum forum thread, in a post written “Sunday 22 June 2008 – 03:41pm”, in which Graham Kings writes that Broadbent

is not going to make a public statement about his reasons for not going to Lambeth, which are complex.

This is of course clear confirmation that Broadbent is not going. On the same thread this morning, “Monday 23 June 2008 – 09:23am”, Broadbent himself gives a public statement, not “about his reasons for not going to Lambeth” but about his reasons for not making a public statement about his reasons. I don’t think that is being inconsistent, but I’m not sure. He writes:

1. Because there isn’t a party line. There is a conference. There are invitations. You can accept an invitation or decline it. It’s not a matter for third parties.

2. Because you may feel that explaining your reasons publicly would not be helpful to the conference host, whom you may not wish to undermine.

3. Becasue non-attendance is of course saving money, rather than expending it, and allows the Anglican Communion to spend more on cheese.

No wonder “Liddon” calls Broadbent “a politician”! But I have my own interesting points to make here:

  1. Broadbent apparently does not want to undermine Archbishop Rowan Williams, who he considers “a good man”.
  2. He is avoiding both conferences, saving money for both sets of organisers!
  3. Nevertheless he has his reasons for not attending, and explaining them publicly would not be helpful to Williams – which implies that the reasons are not purely personal.

One might wonder if Broadbent is trying to keep a foot in both camps, not upsetting his evangelical friends by attending Lambeth, but also not upsetting Williams and his associates by attending GAFCON or going public with any criticism. I don’t want to suggest that Broadbent’s position is anything less than honourable, but I do see it as a political decision, a compromise. Sadly the Anglican Communion has got into its current bad state because of a series of compromises. I don’t think it is helpful to anyone to continue to compromise.

Sitting on fences is uncomfortable, and remaining on this one will surely become even more so. Some time quite soon Bishop Broadbent will have to jump down on one side or the other.

0 thoughts on “Bishop Broadbent to stay away from Lambeth

  1. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Pete Broadbent lets off gay wedding vicar

  2. Pete Broadbent’s comments were condemned by Tory MP and friend of Prince Charles, Nicholas Soames, as “extremely rude” and “not what one expects from a bishop.

    They are exactly what I would expect from a politically left wing bishop. The greatest paradox of all here has got nothing to do with the monarchy or the pending royal wedding. The fact that anyone of the modern Left, particularly in its nauseating politically corrected form, which Broadbent certainly is, should even be a senior member of the church is a very sad reminder that the Anglican church today is a very poorly led, spiritually weak, shadow of its former self that is choosing to distance itself ever further from God, truth, common sense and from the real message of Christianity. Broadbent’s beliefs and attitudes revealed by his comments are just one of many symptoms.

  3. Peter, I think you commented on the wrong post. You should have commented on this one.

    I can agree with Nicholas Soames’ comments, as you quote them. But Broadbent has apologised, and the matter should have been left there.

    What nauseates me about the Anglican church is that it has for so long been the old right wing Tory party at prayer, fawning to the monarchy and ignoring “the real message of Christianity” about caring for those in need. It needs leaders like Broadbent who show some common sense, even if in this matter his judgment was not the best. Sadly the real power still seems to be in the hands of the old establishment. Perhaps the only way out of this is to disestablish the Church of England, or perhaps to dissolve it altogether and replace it with churches which are not stuck in the old world of privilege.

  4. ‘old right wing Tory party at prayer’

    I see you are like others of the modern Left (which you clearly are) – dependent upon meaningless cliches and issuing self contradictory and self-evident nonsense.

    Broadbent – a man of common sense! Are you serious? Anyone of the self loathing and self destructive modern left wing, by definition, removes the social strength of the foundation stone and base from which proper care for others can actually be delivered.

    And as good people and traditionalists like the Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst, are being forced out of the church in the wake of broken promises and tyrannical impositions, you declare that you believe the ‘old establishment’ still dominates the Anglican community, then it is clear that you, yourself, are as truly alienated from truth and reality (and from God) as would merit inclusion on a Richard Dawkins ‘winterval’ card list.

    It astonishes me what some people are allowing themselves to be brainwashed into accepting.

  5. Peter, please don’t let this descend into a personal slanging match. I will not tolerate that here. I will interact with this comment, but may have to reject anything which looks like continued personal abuse.

    What do you know of Broadbent’s politics, except that as he has stated he is a republican? In the USA that designation hardly implies that someone is “of the self loathing and self destructive modern left wing”. Why does it here in the UK?

    I’m sure the Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst, is indeed a good man, but he is hardly of the “old establishment” either. There is another bishop in London whose name does not begin with “Broad”, and he is the one who is not showing a broad mind here, but is complicit in the “tyrannical impositions” which force “Broad” people out of either side of the new Anglican narrow way. The question is, is this really the same narrow way which Jesus taught about?

  6. Peter – he describes himself as a ‘Christian Socialist’. So perhaps it is fully justifiable to consider his myopia and clear ignorance of fiscal probity (and blatant economic morality) against the backdrop of irrefutable historical evidence as far as this self confessed word (socialist) that he applies to himself is concerned.

    You ask me to consider “is this really the same narrow way which Jesus taught about?” What do you define as a ‘narrow’ way.

    I am not a theologian. But I know enough to be aware that the beliefs of the modern Left – particularly those of the fanatical egalitarian school which is fashionably dismissive of much of the central ethos of unalterable and eternally objective human morality – are the antithesis of what the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit stands for.

    I am genuinely a regular church goer (and a bell ringer). But the foundation of my own very real faith is kept strong for me, in this world of increasing contradictions, by the writings of people like G.K.Chesterton and C.S.Lewis whose Christian apologetics are delivered against a background of an original Christian message that, from the very outset, was never meant to be altered.

    We are all spiritually equal in the eyes of God. But on earth human life is, and was always meant to be, loving but hierarchical (to me, you cannot have one without the other) .

    It was intended, from the outset, that this should be reflected in the body of the church. The bible itself states that. Christianity aside, if you try to undermine that physical reality you fundamentally damage the society in which you live and you hurt many people. Again history irrefutably testifies to this reality.

    It seems to me that the ‘narrow’ way you talk about betrays a misguided acceptance and belief in the human importance attached to politics, status and material possessions.

    Whether you consider yourself to be left wing or not, like many of the progressive Left today, you appear to be dismissing ordinary human values and simple truth as a moral straight-jacket when in fact it is the very lifeblood of all long term happiness and real freedom.

  7. Just as a final note Peter. It was never my intention to be rude, I do apologise if I have come across as being so. It sometimes happens when posting a reply on a blog when blood pressure levels are on a high. And I am afraid that after reading what you had said about Peter Broadbent being an asset and an example of common sense in our church – they were on a high.

    I also apologise for kicking off on the wrong thread of debate to begin with. It happened because I had typed in the name of Broadbent in my search engine, along with a few details of the present controversy, and it misguidedly delivered me here.

    That aside it is good to communicate with a fellow Christian. Best wishes.

  8. I’m glad to find your site after a good while spent this afternoon writing e-mails in support of Pete Broadbent.

    I wonder how many other perfectly orthodox Christian people would welcome a bishop’s lead in the way of being less than thrilled at the prospect of a royal wedding?

    I wonder what kind of constitutional crisis has been averted by slapping down such dangerous views?

    I wonder if a precedent has been set for bishops being routinely suspended in future if they say anything mildly controversial?

    Actually, I’m quite shocked to see the C of E acting decisively for once – and getting it so wrong. I too have previously thought of the other London bishop as broad … (in fact, isn’t ‘broad and generous orthodoxy’ a phrase I’ve heard him use?)

    Steve Pownall

  9. Peter, your apology accepted.

    But are you suggesting that anyone who calls themselves a Christian Socialist is guilty of “myopia and clear ignorance of fiscal probity (and blatant economic morality)”? Or do you have evidence that Broadbent in particular is guilty of these? Now I accept that socialism, Christian or otherwise, has its issues, but to suggest that it lacks probity and morality is, I consider, an unjustifiable accusation.

    Anyway, it is clear from what you write about hierarchy that your worldview is fundamentally different from mine – as you will find by exploring elsewhere in my blog. I would also argue that your worldview is fundamentally opposed to that of Jesus, who turned worldly hierarchies upside down e.g. in Mark 10:42-45. But this is getting a long way from Broadbent.

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