The age-old question for Christians in mainline churches: at what point does my church’s goofiness require my departure? Apparently that point has been reached for several Anglican bishops.
My heart has a soft spot for the Church of England. During my graduate work I became pretty familiar with its historic doctrines and practices, and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is one of my favorite books. The language and thoughts of the liturgy are sound, and superior to the ideas expressed extemporaneously in most church services I’ve attended. If you’re looking for some good devotional reading, you could do a lot worse.
So I’ve been saddened by the developments in the Church of England since the 1960s. Modernism has thoroughly infiltrated the leadership, and the body as a whole has gone merrily along with the culture, losing nearly all of its distinctiveness. Low points included the Bishop of Durham’s denial of the historic doctrine of the Resurrection and the apparent consensus that maybe there isn’t a literal hell after all.
Five bishops have now decided they can’t hang around for any more of this let’s-make-it-up-as-we-go-along stuff and are going down the road to Rome. One of the bishops was interviewed on BBC Radio and stated that once the new RC jurisdictions are set up, several waves of parish priests will likely join them, beginning with a group of 50 or 60.
Not to worry, though. If these attendance figures are any indication, the Church of England doesn’t need nearly as many priests as it used to. Maybe some of the converts can join the monastic recruiting drive some dying orders have mounted . . . everyone wins!