([London] Sunday Times) Bishop David Chillingworth–Have faith in (the) future of our churches

“Last week’s article on falling patterns of membership and church attendance in Scotland’s churches gave the other side of other story. Secularisation is merciless in its effect on churches. It will erode to vanishing point churches which operate in traditional ways and cannot adapt. It challenges the mindset of ”˜as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be.’ But I believe that secularisation also presents a positive challenge for churches. It encourages us to develop church communities of new quality – disciples who are deeply engaged with their faith and not just of members who belong. It will be good for churches and good for faith.

“Let me surprise you first by saying that I am a supporter of secular society. My family roots are in the beginnings of what has become the Irish Republic. In the early years of the last century, Ireland was what some have called a confessional or theocratic state. The Catholic Church exercised an undue influence on the way in which government approached matters of social and moral legislation. The modern secular state is a safer place – it allows space for a proper separation of legislature, judiciary and church. In my view, there is then room for a proper relationship between church and state. The state should be the guardian and protector of religious freedom but it should not defer to religion.

“Last week’s article treated secularisation as if it was a single phenomenon. But it’s much more subtle and complex than that. It is actually a sort of ”˜double whammy’ – let me explain what I mean.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, England / UK, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Scottish Episcopal Church, Secularism

3 comments on “([London] Sunday Times) Bishop David Chillingworth–Have faith in (the) future of our churches

  1. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    This is truly fudge if I have ever read it.

  2. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Secularism is bad…no, it’s good…no, wait…what?

  3. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “So right across Scotland we are developing patterns of church life which provide a ‘way in’ for people who have lost their traditional church membership and want to explore faith in a new way” [/blockquote]
    But this just begs the question – will people want to use this ‘way in’ that you provide them? So far they have not been doing so.
    [blockquote] “Secularisation is merciless in its effect on churches. It will erode to vanishing point churches which operate in traditional ways and cannot adapt.” [/blockquote]
    Recent experience teaches the opposite – it is those churches who abandon traditional ways which are most in danger of being eroded to vanishing point.
    [blockquote] “Scotland’s secular society has its roots in the Scottish Enlightenment which implanted in the Scottish psyche patterns of thought based on rationalism and individualism. To that is added the impact of the Scottish Reformation. The fiery gospel which John Knox preached at St John’s Kirk in Perth was also individualistic and rational. Put the two together and you have a breeding ground for what we know as the secular society today..” [/blockquote]
    Really? Presybyterianism is “individualistic”? And the Scottish Enlightenment, some 200 years after the Reformation and based on the highest literacy levels in Europe and which could not be called hostile to religion, is somehow said to have led to secularisation more than two centuries later…?