We have spent so much time as conservatives in a liberal denomination that the best we can usually muster is a letter and a few empty threats. In this, we have accepted, to some degree, that we are playing something of a political game. A free church friend pointed some of the horrors of this game out before Christmas. In short, those who are faithful are side-lined at best, whereas the game-players, who don’t step out of line with the liberal denominational leaders and structures too much, get their denominational rewards (while throwing their brothers and sisters in Christ under a bus).
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (1 Cor. 4:1-2 NIV)
In the ups and downs of my ministry, I have been repeatedly struck by that emphasis. My goal is to remain faithful.
In the lead up to Christmas the House of Bishops dropped one of their increasingly regular bombshells giving guidance on how to mark the transition of a transgender person (see my blog which has links to relevant documents). We’re still awaiting many implications and responses – the timing of just before Christmas meant that many were simply to busy to deal with it.
There have been various points where synod and Bishops have made disastrous decisions before – it’s increasingly seen as a Church of England speciality! For some time, the conservative (which essentially means orthodox, actually Christian) have been debating what constitutes a red line being crossed and what we will do when it has been. For my money, I think we had probably already crossed some red lines without noticing it. However, for many this guidance was the point. Attaching gender-identity ideology (already an attack on God’s creation) to the gospel sacrament of baptism is a pretty obvious attack on the orthodox gospel, i.e. the doctrine of the gospel has been officially changed by stealth.
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