Letter to the Editor: Prayers for the Dead at Remembrance Services

Prayers for the Dead at Remembrance Services   Sir, Remembrance Sunday is an important and poignant landmark in our nation’s annual calendar, and a day to reflect, give thanks and pray for peace. We see church and civic life combine in silence and remembrance, as...

Evangelical Theological College of Asia

Evangelical Theological College of Asia Have you ever wondered if there was a sound reformed theological training institution in Asia?  The Evangelical Theological College of Asia is just such a school.  It is located in Singapore and its faculty are mostly from...

Prudence Dailey’s Commentary: Should Women Be Afraid of Men?

Prudence Dailey's Commentary Should Women be Afraid of Men? Recently, someone I used to work with shared on her Facebook page a link to an article from The Times magazine by the feminist writer Caitlin Moran. The substance of Ms Moran’s piece—rhetorically addressed to...

FIEC Updates Its “Values Statement”

FIEC Updates Its “Values Statement” The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches recently updated its “Values Statement.”  It is well-worth your time to read.  There are FIEC affiliated congregations in England, Scotland, and Wales.   1. God-honouring and...


Lenora Hammond 1960-2021 Mrs Lenora Hammond, wife of Frontline Fellowship founder Dr Peter Hammond, died on 9 November.  She was six days short of her sixty-first birthday.  Frontline Fellowship is headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa. Mrs Hammond was born into a...

Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary to Retire

Archbishops’ Appointments Secretary to Retire “The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have paid tribute to the service of Caroline Boddington, who has announced she will be leaving the National Church Institutions (NCIs) at the end of 2021 after 17 years as the...

Book Review: The Lullingstone Secret

The Lullingstone Secret Jill Masters Wakeman Press, 2021 (ISBN: 9781913133115, 97pp, £5.95) Lullingstone Villa in Kent is a fascinating site to visit whatever one’s awareness of ancient history and is lavishly curated by English Heritage. Since its excavation in the...

Book Review: The Welsh Methodist Society

The Welsh Methodist Society The Early Societies in South-West Wales 1737-1750 Eryn M. White University of Wales Press, 2021 (ISBN: 9781786835796, 350pp, £24.99) In many respects, the church in Britain continues to live off the puttering afterglow of the eighteenth...

Eastern Rite Catholics: What Are They?

Eastern Rite Catholics What Are They? Former Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali’s recent defection to Rome has highlighted earlier efforts of the Roman Catholic Church to bring other ecclesiastical jurisdictions into its orbit.  There are a total of twenty-three which have...

Editorial: The Departure of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet

The Departure of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall has decided to leave the Church of England and become a member of the Roman Catholic Church. For eight years he has been the Provincial Episcopal Visitor for the Province of Canterbury.  What happened?  His theological convictions have finally won out over his ordination vows.  Whilst it would be better if he had fully embraced the Formularies of the Church of England, it is right that he depart, not for greener but for theologically more compatible pastures.  To do otherwise would continue to be a mockery of the vows he took at ordination to the diaconate, presbyterate, and at his consecration as bishop.

He will have less inner conflict since he no longer has to pretend.

Some might think that unduly harsh or unfeeling.  If emotion is the standard by which the Church operates, then it is unduly harsh and unfeeling.  However, if you believe that the Church operates (or should) from a position of revealed propositional truth, it is quite kind.

Why?  The Church of England, is a Protestant and reformed Church.  It is catholic but not Roman Catholic.  Every person ordained into her ministry takes vows to teach according to the standards as this Church has received them because they may be proven certain by “holy Writ”.  To hold theological convictions antithetical to those settled positions of this Church, is at best, disingenuous and at worst, utterly dishonest.

In his departure statement, Bishop Goodall wrote of his struggle as “one of the most testing periods of my life”.  We must not doubt him on this point but we must also not elide into a position of mashing up revealed propositional truth with unthinking emotion.

The Church of England’s Thirty-nine Articles of Religion set out our understanding of authority in the Church.  

Article XX states:  The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of the Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it expound one place of Scripture, that it may be repugnant to another”…

People can be dull but that is clear enough that even a new postulant for ordination can understand without explanation.  The clear teaching of the Bible is the standard by which our doctrine stands or falls.  

One has to wonder how long Bishop of Ebbsfleet has had this inner conflict.  Did he not know that the Church, whose members were providing his stipend, views as vainly invented and repugnant to the Word of God, the theological convictions which he has adopted?  Has he never read the 1st chapter Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians?  Has he never stumbled across James 3:1?

It would seem unlikely.  If he did, he didn’t pay close attention.

Consider Article XXII.  It repudiates these non-negotiable aspects of Roman Catholic teaching—which Bishop Goodall publicly embraces as he officially moves to Rome:

“The Romish Doctrine concerning Purgatory, Pardons, Worshipping and Adoration as well of images as of Reliques and also invocation of the Saints, is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God”.

Perhaps the saddest element of this matter is that the Archbishop of Canterbury reportedly views the decision of his suffragan as legitimate—as if the Church of Rome and the Church of England are singing from the same PowerPoint slide.

Whilst considering Goodall’s decision, cogitate on what the Archbishop is said to have said; “I am deeply grateful to Bishop Jonathan for his ministry and many years of faithful service. My prayers are with him and Sarah, both for his future ministry and for the direction in which they are being called in their continuing journey of dedicated service to Christ”.  

We’re to believe that the primus inter pares, not only of the Church of England but the entire Anglican Communion, is so confused that he purportedly praises a clergyman for having spent years breaking his ordination vows?   And, that he then wishes him well as he continues to live and teach contrary to the Bible—please, may it not be so!

Is it possible that the Archbishop, just returning from sabbatical, handed this task off to a theologically illiterate aide?  Maybe, but either way, it is no wonder critics think the Church of England is relegated to irrelevance.  

Do pray for the Archbishop and the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, but most of all, keep looking to Jesus.  

Please pray for repentance and revival.

Lord, have mercy!  Christ, have mercy!  Lord, have mercy!