I wonder whether in years to come people will view the potential split in the Anglican Communion as a debate that was really about the very nature of the church. A disagreement about why the church exists and what it's purpose is.
To me, an outsider, it seems the camps can be defined by two broad brushstrokes. The liberals saying 'we must be relevant', and the Evangelicals who say 'we must be Biblical'. Now, the great shame of that of course is that there is no more relevant message than the Biblical Gospel, as man's greatest need is answered by it. Relevant here sadly seems to mean 'not very distinct from the world at all'.
So what is the church for? Does it exist to preach the Biblical Gospel as handed down from generation to generation, to comfort the weak, pray for the sick, heal the broken, feed the hungry, or does it exist as a sort of comfort shelter for our culture. A nice English thing to have. Nice buildings, nice smells, nice traditions, nice people...just not in my back yard thank you. I'm not sure it's overstating the point to say that the definition of what the Church is supposed to be is at the heart of this debate.
If the latter stance is right then there's no reason why there shouldn't be homosexual or female clergy, there's no reason for the church to pursue this 'discrimination' no reason why it should have special measures in place to say who can lead it, no reason for people who disagree with the Archbishop to make such a song and dance about it. If thats the point of the church, then it, we, should throw away everything that makes us look weird to the world in an attempt to be relevant, to be acceptable. Certainly no reason why we should make the effort to convince people to join our club.
But if the Church really does have a divine mandate to preach the Gospel to every tribe and tongue, then Jensen, Packer, etc are right. We must contend for the truth in our towns and villages, we must protest strongly when what is clearly taught by the Bible is put to one side, we must do all we can to defend the Gospel. We must keep on fulfilling, or at least, attempting to fulfill the Great Commission. We simply have to. Who will hear unless we tell them?
I hope the Anglican Communion doesn't split any more than it already has. I hope it recovers the 39 Articles, recovers Evangelicalism and continues to call all people to believe on Jesus and repent. That said, if we get to the point of no return, if there really is no home for Evangelicals in the Church of England, i fear this issue is serious enough to split over. Because i fear the nature of what the church is is at stake.
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