When the Church is Driven by Pragmatism Over Gospel

The story seems to be something of an indication of the state of the wider Anglican Communion and the way these things are likely to go.

As Jules Gomes notes on his blog, ‘Critics have accused Dean Hance of hypocrisy as the policy of “radical inclusion” pushed by Archbishop Justin Welby is turned on its head when it comes to traditionalist Christians.’ As far as ‘mutual flourishing’ and ‘radical inclusion’ are concerned, it is entirely unclear in what way the Progressives are being called to ‘radically include’ Evangelicals and traditionalists. 

 

Two stories have emerged from the world of British Anglicanism. One, on the face of it, appears better than the other. Both, however, are rather indicative of much of what is happening within the Anglican Church.

The less positive story concerns Derby Cathedral. The cathedral has refused a request from Derby Christian Union to hold a carol service in their building at which the Rev’d Melvin Tinker would speak. You can read more details here.

The problem here is not so much that Melvin Tinker isn’t permitted to speak per se. The issue is the rank hypocrisy of the Cathedral. Here is a church prepared to screen sexually explicit films without considering them too controversial but who will not permit a preacher who is faithful to the gospel (and, if you’re bothered by them, the XXXIX) that the Anglican Church is supposed to uphold.

The move is hardly surprising. The rhetoric coming out of Lambeth Palace is all about ‘mutual flourishing’. Who knows exactly what that is supposed to mean. It is beyond me how diametrically opposed views of the gospel can flourish in the same church; not least when that church insists it is wedded to a gospel over which nobody using the term can agree on what it is. Tinker has been clear about this when he said, ‘we don’t want “mutual flourishing”. We want the gospel to flourish. We want orthodoxy to flourish.’ Would that the Progressives might acknowledge they too have no interest in ‘mutual flourishing’ but rather want their heterodox views to win the day and the eradication of those, like Tinker, who hold to the historic teachings of the church and the gospel as presented in scripture.

As Jules Gomes notes on his blog, ‘Critics have accused Dean Hance of hypocrisy as the policy of “radical inclusion” pushed by Archbishop Justin Welby is turned on its head when it comes to traditionalist Christians.’ As far as ‘mutual flourishing’ and ‘radical inclusion’ are concerned, it is entirely unclear in what way the Progressives are being called to ‘radically include’ Evangelicals and traditionalists. The story seems to be something of an indication of the state of the wider Anglican Communion and the way these things are likely to go.

I’m struggling to see why you would aim to have your event at such a place as this given their clear opposition to what you want to proclaim. That Gomes reports the CU asked whether the cathedral would permit anyone from St John’s (Tinker’s church) to speak following their first refusal suggests that, rather than simply looking to find a new venue for the speaker they felt most appropriate for their mission, the CU were keen to find an acceptable speaker to secure the venue they want. Are we being driven by gospel concerns or are we being driven more by pragmatic concerns such as which building we think might attract the most people?

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