(Telegraph) Charles Moore—Justin Welby is the Alpha male to save the Church of England
The new Archbishop of Canterbury is the epitome of what I am talking about. Dr Welby was a lay pastor at Holy Trinity, Brompton, and trained as a priest at the same time that Alpha was going global. He was what the satirists call “HTB-positive”. But neither his worldly, ecclesiastical or intellectual career has been narrow. Oilman, Francophile (he was France’s honorary consul in Liverpool when he was Dean there), peacemaker in Nigeria, admirer of the Benedictine order, he has never worn the straitjacket of a sect. When he was at Liverpool, his slogan was that the cathedral was “a safe place to do risky things in Christ’s service”. Faith as risk, rather than as bogus certainty, would seem the right idiom for the modern Church of England.
Just now, hopes are high. I have talked to Church people who actively dislike evangelicals, but even they express complete trust in Dr Welby’s openness. No one expects a war between High and Low, Anglo-Catholics and Bible-bashers. They expect an archbishop who will speak bravely to England, and the wider world, in clear English, about the claims that Jesus makes on the life of society and on each human being.
Obviously some of these hopes will be dashed. Churches are probably the most disputatious organisations in the world. The Anglican Communion, at whose head Dr Welby will find himself, is ungovernable. If he does not recognise this at once, and find a way of stepping aside from executive responsibility over it, he will be dragged down by its squabbles, just like poor Dr Rowan Williams.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal
Archbishop of Canterbury
Church of England (CoE)
Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:26 am
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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/45978/
1. Tory+ wrote:
Insightful look into the kind of evangelical witness +Welby has. Also a generous portrait of HTB by an outsider. Alpha is essentially Wesley’s class meeting rediscovered. However, unlike Wesley, HTB has been able to keep its apostolic movement within the ancient structures of the church - and even transplant into Roman and Eastern Christendom. HTB is more like a tribe than a church. Indeed, the most influential tribe in Christendom with the greatest conveneing power in global Christianity. I am grateful that the Welby’s will have HTB in their own backyard as they take on this enormous challenge.
I am still stunned by this development, even though I knew it was a strong possbility.
November 10, 2:28 pm | [comment link]
2. Teatime2 wrote:
I know that the +Welby appointment has much greater pertinence for those in Britain but, as an American Anglican, I am feeling cautiously hopeful about the gifts that Archbishop Welby could offer Christendom and the world. He seems to be a thoughtful, right-of-center moderate who has some deep life and job experiences to bring to the office and his ministry. It sounds as if the C of E is very willing to give him a chance; I just hope that the Communion is.
November 10, 3:26 pm | [comment link]
3. Ralph Webb wrote:
I fully agree, Teatime.
November 10, 4:58 pm | [comment link]
4. paradoxymoron wrote:
Messages for the Anglican Communion:
Pew Potatoes: let’s give him 8 or 12 years before we judge him.
The rest of this post is theological frippery which you’re much too sensible for.
Insiders: Let’s replace him in 8 or 12 years with someone just like him.
November 10, 8:58 pm | [comment link]
5. Cennydd13 wrote:
He needs to declare unequivocally where he stands on several important matters which concern the entire Communion and in fact the rest of Christianity, and we all know very well what they are.
It’s vitally important that he reconsider his pledge to reexamine his position with regard to homosexuality and the Church, and his position on women bishops…...both of which are potentially deadly for the Church and the Communion.
November 10, 11:51 pm | [comment link]
6. MichaelA wrote:
“No one expects a war between High and Low, Anglo-Catholics and Bible-bashers. They expect an archbishop who will speak bravely to England, and the wider world, in clear English, about the claims that Jesus makes on the life of society and on each human being.”
No argument with that.
November 11, 1:19 am | [comment link]
7. MichaelA wrote:
“The Anglican Communion, at whose head Dr Welby will find himself, is ungovernable. If he does not recognise this at once, and find a way of stepping aside from executive responsibility over it, he will be dragged down by its squabbles, just like poor Dr Rowan Williams.”
No, sorry, this is very wrong on both counts. Firstly, the Anglican Communion is governable - it is just not governable by a relativist like Rowan Williams.
And secondly, Rowan Williams was not “dragged down by squabbles”. He was dragged down by his own failure to take a clear and unequivocal stand for orthodox Christianity. As a result, he lost the confidence of the orthodox (rightly so) and ironically the extreme liberals also turned on him because he didn’t give them exactly what they wanted.
The question is whether +Welby will do the same when he is ABC. There is nothing in this article that gives a clear direction as to whether he will or not. The fact that he went to HTB and calls himself an evangelical, and is a very sincere and godly man, will not be enough. Unless he is prepared to take a strong stand for scriptural truth and be prepared to hold to it even when that is not popular, he will end up exactly the same as Rowan Williams, but take less long to get there.
November 11, 1:25 am | [comment link]
8. clarin wrote:
#7: “The fact that he went to HTB and calls himself an evangelical, and is a very sincere and godly man, will not be enough.”
True enough. James Jones of Liverpool, Welby’s old “boss”, is from a similar stable but is hardly an evangelical now. I think it began when he switched his central interest from the Cross to ‘Green Theology’.
November 11, 5:39 pm | [comment link]
Relativism is always a danger. It looks like Welkby’s got a good grasp of modern business ethics, which is good, but that’s not Christology.
10. Cennydd13 wrote:
There have been times when I thought that what is needed on the Throne of St Augustine is at heart a simple parish priest who is truly a man of God, and who cares about His people. A man who speaks the Truth plainly and without reservation, and who is not hesitant to stand up for the Truth as found in Holy Scripture. I would like to be able to say that +Welby is such a man, but at this point, I don’t know enough about him to say one way or another.
November 12, 12:07 pm | [comment link]
12. Teatime2 wrote:
#s 9 and 11—did you read the aforementioned Telegraph article? It’s an opinion piece that oozes bile and bitterness from the word go and doesn’t make any logical or compelling arguments, besides. If one uses that piece to form an opinion of +Welby, then, sorry, but they must have few (if any) objective standards.
November 12, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
13. MichaelA wrote:
Teatime2, Dr Tighe didn’t comment on whether he agreed with all of Rev Mullen’s comments, or some of them, or none of them. Neither did I.
The particular interest of the Telegraph piece is that it is by an English clergyman, and a lot of its comments relate to the political situation in England - unavoidable when discussing the office of Archbishop in an established church, but more of interest to members of the CofE than to us foreigners.
In turn, the link that I posted has virtually nothing to say about Rev. Mullen’s issues, nor is it necessarily critical of +Welby. But it is also another piece by an English clergyman.
November 12, 7:48 pm | [comment link]
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