…Welby attempted to clarify his view of reconciliation:
“Reconciliation is extraordinarily painful for those involved in the conflict,” he admitted. He said his view of reconciliation is not a “fuzzy wuzzy tolerance, sort of fluffy, where it would all be nice if we were nice to each other sort of rubbish.”
Frankly, it is on this last point that I am going to need convincing. And the longer I see Dr. Welby in action, the more doubtful I become.
In 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, we read:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Our ministry of reconciliation only exists because, in Christ, we have been reconciled to God; and this reconciliation is grounded in the fact that the Incarnate Son of God, who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Do we believe in Jesus’ substitutionary atonement for us, paying the penalty for the sins that separated us from God? If not, then we cannot be reconciled. Have we, in gratitude, submitted ourselves to Christ? Do we follow his commandments (John 14:21)? If not, then we cannot be reconciled to God, which is the only basis for our being reconciled to each other.
1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” Reconciliation is not living together despite our disagreements. The basis for reconciliation is agreement in the truth.
Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Friends, this is the sad state of the Anglican Communion–a house divided against itself. And unless there is agreement in the truth, talk of reconciliation is meaningless.
This is what the Anglican Communion must have if it is to survive: Not a leader who tries to hold a plurality of viewpoints together, but a leader who leads us in the truth revealed in Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures and who calls us to follow.