Just the other day I sat at work listening to the news that Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury is to end his time in post this coming December. I had the desire to write on this, and many have already, but only today has what to write formulated in my mind. And so what to say about this. It’s important to say that I am not an Anglican so the subtitles and the intricacies of polite policy is beyond me. So any comments are formulated by the impression received through a number of sources. typically these are: the occasional service aired on BBC Radio 4, Sunday (a religious broadcast on a Sunday morning) BBC Radio 4, debates such as the recent one at the Sheldonian with Richard Dawkins and the news.
So over the last 10 years of his tenure I have listened out for some sort of Gospel message and I’m sorry to say it hasn’t been forthcoming. Admittedly, not having access to him on a personal level, those closer to him will probably tell another story. The Archbishop is I have no doubt a nice man, a polite man, and most people would say an inoffensive man. But is he a Gospel man – that’s the question.
It strikes me that if he really were a Gospel man he would take the opportunity to speak of it. And this sadly raises a fundamental yet awkward question – does he know what the Gospel is. Some will reply ‘of course he does – how ridiculous to even suggest it’. I listened to the Sheldonian debate – or was it an academic love in, it was difficult to tell at times – and was struck by the absence of anything Gospel related.
What do I mean Gospel related? And I put this to any high-profile ‘Christian’. For starters I find the absence of any mention of Sin, Judgement, Hell, Holiness of God, Uniqueness of Christ as the ONLY Saviour and Justification through Faith ALONE and by Grace ALONE and by Christ ALONE rather alarming. This man is (supposed to be) a minister of the Gospel of Christ. The fact is if people do not repent, turning to Christ for forgiveness and Salvation they will be lost. You say ‘The Church of England is a broad Church’. I say what about the 39 Articles? Are these not in order that the Church might know what it believes. As a Non-Anglican I would have some disagreement with some of the Articles, but, at its heart is The Gospel of Christ.
It’s sad also to hear so-called C of E Gospel men distracted. The Apostle said ‘Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel’. These days it seems to be ‘There goes my public image if I preach the Gospel’.
Who will follow on from Rowan Williams? Will it be a true Gospel man calling the nation to Faith in Christ and Repentance – unlikely. I see Tom Wright saying what a wonderful fellow Rowan is – all academics together!. It’s the Gospel we need!! Maybe our Lord will grant me the gift of faith to pray otherwise. Personally, I believe all the true Gospel men should leave the Church of England and let it slide into complete apostasy because that way we would at least know where it stands. As it is it’s just a mass of contradictions and confusion and has no credible Gospel witness to our Nation – sadly it’s a joke!
And lest we become proud of our independence and in any way arrogant. WE should pray for humility, grace and perseverance in the face of total apathy and continue to hold forth the Words of Eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.