Church of England is sowing the seeds of its destruction

Church of England is sowing the seeds of its destruction, by Melanie Philips.

A highly regarded adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury has quit the inner counsels of the Church of England in protest against an “agenda of revisionism” that she says is promoting “an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness”.

Lorna Ashworth resigned from the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod, saying: “We have a liberal agenda because the church is not anchored in the Gospel. There is no more conversation about Heaven, Hell, sin, forgiveness, judgment.”

Her resignation illustrates the fissure in the church between liberals and traditionalists which is now threatening outright schism. The immediate flashpoints are gender and gay issues. …

Canterbury Cathedral, 1910

Ashworth’s protest, however, is a far deeper one about the church’s general embrace of secularism. The true message of Christianity, she says, risks being drowned out by people who prefer to discuss social justice because “if we talk about sin, then we have to talk about bad behaviour and people don’t want to be judgmental”.

As a result, the church wants to replace sin, judgment and repentance with “good disagreement”. Thus it would give good and bad equal status. In other words, it would vitiate its role as moral arbiter altogether.

The church hierarchy fails to grasp that secularism is a direct attack on the bedrock principles of Christianity. Secularism would ditch biblical precepts in favour of radical autonomy, replacing normative morality and even physiological reality by subjective emotion and remaking the world in the image of “me”.

Ashworth belongs to a group of dissident conservative evangelicals, including the Queen’s former chaplain, Gavin Ashenden. He and other members of this group wrote in a letter to the press last July: “There are now effectively two opposed expressions of Anglicanism in this country. One has capitulated to secular values, and one continues to hold the faith ‘once delivered to the saints’.” …

As Ashenden observes, those pushing these reforms on the church threaten to change Christianity out of all recognition. “It’s hard to know what to call it,” he writes. “Some have suggested using the label MTD: ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’.”

The outcome of the church evacuating itself of meaning in this “inclusive” way is not a growing flock but empty pews.

Many think the church is an irrelevance. It is not. It is indissolubly connected with Britain’s national identity and the health of its culture. The church is, however, suffering from a kind of spiritual auto-immune disease, attacking its own protective organisms while embracing those that will destroy it. As with the church, moreover, so with the society at whose very core it lies.

If the right-on liberal revisionist church-goers don’t believe what’s in the Bible, why bother? They have become like a reading club for retired folks, and about as relevant.

hat-tip Stephen Neil