After last week’s outbreak of unity, more good news from the Anglican churches. Some of you will think “Of course, this is what any church would do”. Others of you, the more cynical, might be amazed. But, as The Times, in an article by Ruth Gledhill (see also her blog post about the debate), and Thinking Anglicans report, the General Synod of the Church of England has today approved (by 283 votes to 8 with 10 abstentions) a private member’s motion on the uniqueness of Christ in multi-faith Britain.
In fact technically the motion, as printed in full by Thinking Anglicans, does not quite affirm the uniqueness of Christ, but it does “warmly welcome” a long paper by Martin Davie (I haven’t read it!) which concludes, very sensibly,
The Church of England, and Anglicans more generally, have also taken the traditional doctrines of the Trinity and the incarnation as their basis for interfaith dialogue, holding that Jesus is the source of salvation for all people everywhere (whether they are yet aware of the fact or not), but also holding that Christians are called to be God’s instruments in bringing people to explicit faith in Christ and to membership of his Church.
So Ruth is justified in how she starts her article in The Times:
Anglicans were effectively mandated today by the Church of England to go out and convert Muslims and other non-Christian believers.
For decades, their fellow Christians have joked about Anglicans that it is unfair to say they believe in nothing. They believe in anything.
But in a move that led one bishop to condemn in anger the “evangelistic rants”, the Church of England yesterday put decades of liberal political correctness behind it.
(I note the confusion between “today” in the first paragraph and “yesterday” in the third, for the same event. Presumably this article is intended for Thursday’s paper, but the online version is dated Wednesday. The BBC is more careful in these matters in avoiding words like “today” and “yesterday” in its online news.)
Meanwhile Ruth, on her blog, notes that Facebook has penetrated further than ever before. She caught a bishop, Pete Broadbent who is well known to my readers here and has in fact been one himself, communicating with the Press apparently from the floor of the Synod during a debate. Now I wouldn’t dream of publishing comments on a Facebook friend’s status without permission from the commenter. Then I suppose if I was really concerned about the privacy of my comments I wouldn’t have any journalists as my friends. But as Dave Walker is my Facebook friend as well as Pete’s and Ruth’s I can confirm that Ruth has accurately quoted the episcopal comment:
Tee hee – surrender – resistance is futile…
Is it a scandal that a bishop is using Facebook while ostensibly listening to a serious synod debate on the place of Christ in the world today? Does anyone care?
I don’t! Perhaps the scandal is that I think this important enough even to mention in the same post as the uniqueness of Christ.
By the way, today the Synod also voted, by a clear margin well over the required 2/3 (despite Ruth’s miscalculations), to take the next step in the process towards allowing women bishops.
To conclude: I rejoice that the Church of England has taken such a clear stand on this important issue, reaffirming that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.