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Monday, 12 November 2012

Ordering and teaching of the Church of England

 "Knowledge of the Canons by the Clergy is essential for the
right ordering and teaching of the Church of England."
+ERIC KEMP (former Bishop of Chichester)

From the
Church of England web site which boasts 'a Christian presence in every community'. Perhaps 'a presence in every community' would be more appropriate.

C 18 Of diocesan bishops
1. Every bishop is the chief pastor of all that are within his diocese, as well laity as clergy, and their father in God; it appertains to his office to teach and to uphold sound and wholesome doctrine, and to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange opinions; and, himself an example of righteous and godly living, it is his duty to set forward and maintain quietness, love, and peace among all men.

Given that typical congregations are aging fast, they must include many cradle Anglicans who have done their bit and more over the years but no longer sit on committees or attend synods. Leaving others to take over their work they still, mistakenly it seems, rely on their bishop to promote unity in the church while upholding sound and wholesome doctrine. Instead worshippers find themselves out of step with modern thinking, abandoned by bishops who are more comfortable with political posturing than caring for 'all that are within his diocese'. A clear majority in the House of Bishops have sided with revisionists who demand that their opponents accept what they are given or leave their church. Even if all the bishops of the last 2,000 years were too blind to see what is now regarded as sound and wholesome doctrine, by what authority do they exclude worshippers who simply refuse to accept doctrine that is outside the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church? They claim to respect the views of their opponents but do not show it in any meaningful manner. Instead they engage in a campaign to force through unacceptable legislation not based on universally accepted theology but on the grounds that there has been 'Enough Waiting'. 

In his opening statement at the press conference at Lambeth Palace following the announcement that Bishop Justin Welby was to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury he said:
"This is a time for optimism and faith in the church. I know we are facing very hard issues. In 10 days or so the General Synod will vote on the ordination of women as Bishops. I will be voting in favour, and join my voice to many others in urging the Synod to go forward with this change. In my own Diocese, and before I was a Bishop, I have always recognised and celebrated the remarkable signs of God's grace and action in the ministries of many people who cannot in conscience agree with this change. Personally I value and learn from them, and want the church to be a place where we can disagree in love, respecting each other deeply as those who belong to Christ." 
But what does that mean in reality for those praying for a greater understanding of their pastoral needs? Absolutely nothing. Bishop Welby simply joins those bishops who are urging Synod to vote in favour of the measure in full knowledge that what is offered to opponents is no more than a promise to provide a code of practice that has no legal force. A code that if WATCH and GRAS have anything to do with it will go the same way as the promises made to ensure that women were admitted to the priesthood.

Apart from a few honourable exceptions whatever bishops believe today falls well short of what older Anglicans expect for the right ordering and teaching of the Church of England. It may be new Anglican but it is not Christian.


  1. I don’t think that Bishop Eric Kemp is a good name to quote when talking about ‘the right ordering and teaching of the Church of England.’ How about the vile activities perpetrated by some of his clergy that went on in his own diocese while he was in charge?

    1. If you follow the link in the first sentence Rita you will see that the quote comes from the Church of England's web site which publishes the Canon referred to.