A Letter of Support for the English Churchman from America
I write as a churchman almost 50 years ordained in what is still formally known as the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. I am also a subscriber to the English Churchman.
What a ray of light this newspaper is! Your impeccably consistent focus on the Gospel, your unfailing abstinence from “drinking the Kool Aid” of the Protestant churches’ widespread apostasy , including within one’s own beloved tradition; and the sheer quality and precision of the many news articles and essays that you present to your readers — well, the English Churchman is an inspiration.
I believe that the paper is both giving us the news — the news as it actually happens and not just through a “narrative” lens — and then seeking to interpret those facts through the Biblical lens of Judgement, Mercy and Hope. In other words, the reader is getting the facts (ma’am) but is then enabled to look at those facts faithfully, vertically even. For the last year or so, I have been taking the English Churchman. I now look forward to every issue both for the reality of what I shall read there and for a classically Christian approach to that reality.
I could single out three or four regular contributors to the paper, such as Chuck Collins and Mark Pickles, for their succinct interpretive essays. But I mainly thank you, the editor, whose over-all imprint and leadership make the English Churchman what it is.
The main and final point of this letter is to affirm and underline the stance you are taking within the larger Christian Church. Bishop FitzSimons Allison used to say that Arminianism is the banana peel on the road to Unitarianism. In other words, a seemingly secondary mistake can lead to a terminal one. In your case, you are not making that mistake! You are opting neither for a craven accommodation to secular trends in the name of compromise, nor are you sharpening your sword. The English Churchman is simply telling its readers what is going on in the world, and then making observations through the lens of the Bible and in the light of our enduring Protestant Reformation.
Thank you for what you are doing, and for what you are preserving, and for what you are holding up, and for what you are cherishing. Later generations will thank you. I thank you now.
(The Very Rev. Dr. theol. Paul F.M. Zahl,
Dean Emeritus, Trinity (Episcopal) School for Ministry, Ambridge, PA, USA; and Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL, USA)