Andrew Symes–The C of E: limits to diversity and the inevitability of separation?

Concluding his own polite but critical review of “That was the Church that was”, theologian Andrew Goddard makes the following assessment:

“The key question the book raises for me is in what sense, if any, those committed to two such contrasting understandings of the church can genuinely walk together in the same institutional structure. Might it not be the case that, if either is to flourish, each needs to grant the other a distinct ecclesial space and identity to pursue two very different, probably irreconcilable, visions of”¦the church”¦”

This is significant, because Andrew Goddard has for many years been at the forefront of influential leaders within the C of E who hold to an orthodox evangelical understanding of Christian faith (particularly in regard to sexual ethics), but who support solutions to the problems of disagreements over doctrine and ethics based on institutional unity rather than confessional separation. So for example, Goddard was one of the leading advocates for an “Anglican Covenant” and always opposed GAFCON, saying that it was contributing to the divisions in the Anglican communion.
More recently, Goddard has been a supporter of Archbishop Welby’s “good disagreement” policy; he was one of the first to convene a day of discussions on sexuality between revisionists and conservatives before the official “Shared Conversations” began; and co-edited a book of essays exploring how “grace and truth” can be maintained together in a divided church.

Archbishop Justin Welby has said many times that the unity of the church is a given, and no-one has the right to “chuck out” those family members with whom one disagrees. Goddard’s article says clearly, contra Welby,

Read it all.


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