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Director of Church Society Calls on Christians to Take Courage

Director of Church Society Calls on Christians to Take Courage The Revd Dr Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society, has called on all Christians to take courage in the fight for Christian orthodoxy within the Church of England.   In his essay in the Winter 2022 edition...

Barnabas Fund Report: Help Save Lives of Persecuted Christians in Myanmar

Barnabas Fund Reports Save lives of persecuted Christians in Myanmar 7 January 2022 “I don’t know if this poor family would still be alive without help,” said one of our project partners this week. She was talking about 33-year-old “Pah” and her children, one of many...

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism: Towards a Strategy by Mark Pickles

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism Towards a Strategy By Mark Pickles “The word ‘earnestly’ is significant, the situation is so urgent, the need so great, so we need to pray, but to pray with focussed persistence and intent so that more labourers might be raised up. “All...

Christian Nurse Fired for Wearing a Cross Necklace Wins Employment Case

Christian Nurse Fired for Wearing a Cross Necklace Wins Employment Case   Mary Onuoha, a former NHS nurse, won her claim of constructive dismissal after being fired for refusing to stop wearing a small gold cross she’d been given at her baptism.  Ms Onuoha is a...

Westminster Conference Report by George Curry

Westminster Conference Report By George Curry The Westminster Conference met in the Regent Hall, Oxford Street, London, on 6 and 7 December 2021. On day 1, Andrew Roycroft spoke in person on Charnock and Regeneration. The next two sessions were via zoom due to the...

Oak Hill to Host Seminar for Those Considering Ministry in the Church of England

Oak Hill to Host Seminar for Those Considering Ministry in the Church of England Oak Hill College will host a seminar for those considering ministry in the Church of England on Saturday, 29 January.  The seminar is “specifically designed to explore, engage with, and...

Pilgrim’s Process by Peter Sanlon

Pilgrim’s Process By Peter Sanlon One of the best known Bible verses tells us 'God is love.' (1 Jn. 4:8) Being loving is vital because of what the first half of that verse teaches - 'Whoever does not love does not know God.’ So on our pilgrimage we must be people who...

The Truth Will Set You Free, Book Review

The Truth Will Set You Free George Carey Isaac Publishing, Virginia, 2021 (ISBN: 9781952450136, 233pp, £24.95)   Randall Davidson pioneered the phenomenon of archiepiscopal retirement when he stepped down from Canterbury in 1928. The practice took hold and most...

What About All Those Contradictions: Chuck Collins

“All Those Contradictions” By Chuck Collins What about Anglicans and the Bible? Some say that it’s only helpful for his teaching on morality — when, in fact, Jesus’s harshest words were reserved for moralists of his day. Others say, “the Bible doesn’t condemn...

The Visible Churches Warned: JC Ryle

The Visible Churches Warned By JC Ryle 2. I ask my readers to observe that in every epistle the Lord Jesus says, 'I know your works'. That repeated expression is very striking. It is not for nothing that we read these words seven times over. To one church the Lord...

Anglican Futures Asks the Question

Quantity or Quality?

The question has been asked in the Anglican Futures blog dated 04/02/2021, ‘How many churches does the Church of England actually need (and where)?’ I want to argue the issue in the Church of England is less the number of churches and more the nature of leadership that exists within the denomination.

A recent twitter-storm revolved around Rev Jarel Robinson-Brown, who is a Chaplain at Kings College in London, after he made what many considered an ill-advised tweet re the call to ‘clap for Captain Tom’ who had just died. The condemnation of, and corresponding support for, the Rev Robinson-Brown highlights what I would argue is a more fundamental issue of leadership within the Church of England.

There is a fundamental problem in western Christendom. We see church numbers fall and think that more management will solve a numbers problem. The greater issue is that there is a worldliness problem. There has been, and is, a drive for the church to accommodate to the world’s ways and world’s values thus creating a new orthodoxy – a hetero-orthodoxy – as it were. The drive for this change is driven from a leadership that wants to face both ways with regard to the world.

The desire to face both ways is not new, indeed a significant criticism of the church in Germany of the 1930s was its desire to align with the state and the pressure for it to excuse that which was inexcusable.

In light of the current financial constraints, therefore, rather than asking how many churches are needed, the more critical question for the church is, ‘How can such persons become leaders within the church, and how can the church leadership allow any who hold such heterodox views to be in church leadership?’

Leadership the church does not need.
In the Times 6th Feb 2021, ‘Clergy eased out as church puts its faith in managers’ the article highlights the recruitment of ‘middle managers with elaborate titles and salaries of more than £50,000 to do some heavenly thinking on how to revive its flagging fortunes’.

Throughout the scriptures, the shepherds within Israel and the church have failed the people. Throughout the centuries, too often the shepherds have been no shepherds at all. In Ezekiel, the prophet calls woe upon the shepherds of Israel for looking out for themselves and not their flock. The people of Israel had compromised with their world and drifted away from the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. The shepherds had allowed the sheep to wander far from God and had grown fat on the way. They had done nothing to protect the people from the idolatry, wickedness and injustice. Similarly, in Matthew, Jesus calls out the shepherds of Israel who have failed to lead the children of Israel as they should.

Paul tells Timothy, ‘…preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all patience and instruction. For there will be a time when they will not put up with sound teaching, but in accordance with their own desires, they will accumulate for themselves teachers, because they have itching ears, and they will turn away from hearing truth, but will turn to myths.’

Are things really so different today? The church allows men and women such the Rev Robinson-Brown, to be ‘shepherds’ in the church. Why are we then surprised that the church is shrinking in number when such shepherds and such leadership exists, and when biblical teaching is ignored?

www.anglicanfutures.org

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