Skip to comments.Ruth Gledhill: Anglican leaders 'are losing their way' [CofE]
Posted on 07/14/2006 5:36:46 PM PDT by sionnsar
The head of the Church Army has launched a surprise attack on the Church of England, accusing it of losing faith in the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Capt Philip Johanson said it was increasingly the case that people converting to Christianity were not going to church on Sundays. Some new converts had never been to church at all, he said, and preferred to their new-found faith with friends they met in the pub, or on the internet.
The Church of England, he warned, was seen as increasingly irrelevant, led by people who no longer appeared to believe in the Gospel tenets of their faith. He is pictured here making his address at a commissioning service.
The sudden strike from Captain Phil Johanson, Chief Secretary, is doubly unexpected because the Church Army is the evangelistic arm of the Anglican Church. Terry Waite is among those who started out as Church Army evangelists.
Under the presidency of Lord Carey of Clifton, former Archbishop of Canterbury, evangelists are expected to follow orders to go out and convert with unquestioning obedience.
That the leader of the normally-loyal Anglican troops should himself be challenging the faith and confidence of hisgenerals, the archbishops and bishops who direct operations from their dioceses, is an indication of the exent to which the nations established church is in danger of losing its way in its never-ending divisions over homosexuality and women bishops.
Capt Johanson, addressing a congregation of 200 at a commissioning service for 14 new evangelists at the Church Armys college of evangelism in Sheffield on Wednesday 12 July, said the Church should not remain silent about the Gospel. He said: Whatever happened to the Church of England? Anglicans in the West do not have a very good track record of telling the good news and one can only conclude that they do not know it, they are not convinced by it, or it makes little or no impact on their lives. They are not sufficiently excited by it as to want to share it. If we follow the example of St Paul we cannot remain silent. He said young people were still becoming Christians, but were finding faith through friendship and not through church. Now church does not seem relevant."
Captain Johanson continued: We are not by nature a nation of generous people. Oh yes we usually respond well to disasters and emergencies, however we are not naturally known for our ongoing generosity. For most people, it was still the case that an English mans home is his castle, he said. The draw bridge is up and we keep ourselves to ourselves and what we have is firmly ours.
He conceded that some in the established church were doing their best to improve the situation.
Back to Church Sunday, a campaign mounted by some dioceses for this September, was fine up to point, said Capt Johanson, but it depended on people coming to church and not church going out to them. What about those who have never been there in the first place, a growing number of people? They will not be going back.
He said increasing numbers of new Christians were staying away from church, because they found it irrelevant. He quoted one convert, Jon, who had been a Christian for two and a half years and had never been to church. Jon had said: Church has never really appealed to me, but I regularly talk to others about issues of faith on a website. Among those commissioned, pictured here, were Kinder Kalsi, who recently launched Sheffields first cafe church, Lizzie Wallace, who pioneered a street reachout initiative and Richard Thomas, who helped set up the Bridge project helping homeless women based in the Marylebone, London.
*This article appeared in early editions of The Times on Thursday 13 July. I've reproduced it here because it doesn't appear online.
Thank you for posting this. I would not have seen it otherwise.
Is this news? The Anglican church lost it's way long ago.
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