The Church of England, what a challenge! I am happy that we some years ago have been able to burry the Swedish State church… now all churches are “free-churches”. Because of the fact that we (England and Sweden) both had “State churches” we find many similarities between us. It is therefore that I with interest follow what is happening in England. I know of the different theological stands in the Church of England and I am wondering how long these differences can be contained within one and the same church body.
With that in mind I want to call to your attention yet another challenge that is to be faced by this diverse church body. This coming July during their General Synod Paul Eddy, a lay theological student from Winchester who wants to become a priest is asking the all deciding question to the church body: “Is there Salvation through Christ alone?”
Through a “Private Member’s Motion” he has secured the signatures necessary to force the General Synod to deal with his motion. The contend of it might be shown to be dynamite within the Synod it reads: ‘That this Synod request the House of Bishops to report to the Synod on their understanding of the uniqueness of Christ in Britain’s multi-faith society, and offer examples and commendations of good practice in sharing the gospel of salvation through Christ alone with people of other faiths and of none.’
It is all about the Gospel itself and the specific question concerns the evangelization of Muslims. In the end, the outcome of this debate may, more than anything else, determine the future of the Church of England.
The motion has been condemned by many in the church and the Daily Mail [London] reports that liberal bishops attempted to discourage members from signing the motion. Nevertheless, the motion is now set and the General Synod will vote on whether the Church of England should evangelize Muslims.
[Mr. Eddy] said that the active recruitment of non-believers and adherents of other faiths had always been a Biblical injunction on Christians, commanded by Christ himself.
But he claimed that many bishops were downplaying the missionary role of the Church and official documents often glossed over the requirement to convert Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs or followers of other religions.
He warned that the central role of Christianity in Britain was being eroded, and by ‘allowing the rise of another religion in our country, all that Britain stands for is up for grabs.’
Mr. Eddy’s motion has found support among at least some bishops, including the Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali. Bishop Nazir-Ali, born in Pakistan, is the only Asian-born bishop in the Church of England. In response to Mr. Eddy’s motion, the Bishop argued that the Church of England has failed in its responsibility to “welcome people of other faiths.” He suggested that the church had “gone too far” in responding to the sensitivities of British Muslims.
He also said, “Our nation is rooted in the Christian faith and that is the basis of welcoming people of other faiths. You cannot have an honest conversation on the basis of fudge.”
Today it is Britain, what will we face tomorrow in many of our churches in Sweden? The signs of the times say it all…
That’s the Way I see it!