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  1. Unbelievable. Either N. T. Wright doesn’t recognize apostasy when he sees it, or he thinks the tide can be turned. He says it’s the latter, but I suspect that he is mistaken.

  2. Perhaps Wright is just being true to his doctrine of the church, 🙂 The conservative evangelical covenant strikes me as at best ‘political’ in its timing. There is no new crisis in Anglicanism at the moment, just another expression of differences of opinion that have been present for centuries.

  3. Perhaps. But this looks like a new departure for John Stott, who, if I remember correctly, was criticized by Ian Murray in EVANGELICALISM DIVIDED for remaining “true to his doctrine of the church” and working for reform within the Church of England.

    for His renown,


  4. You don’t need ‘a new crisis in Anglicanism’ when you’re facing mini crises on daily basis as many of those who signed the covenant do.

  5. Jim,

    1. I admit that I was a bit suprised by Wright’s tirade. I thought he might be sympathetic even if he did not completely agree or wish to take the same line.

    2. Since coming to the UK, I have changed my mind about Evangelicals in the mainline denominations (Church of England, Church of Scotland). Formerly I held that Evangelicals should leave their liberal denominations, as Martin Lloyd Jones suggested, and start a new denomination. Packer and Stott said disagreed and the majority of Evangelicals opted to stay as well. I now think Packer and Stott were right! In the 1950s about 10% of ministry canidates were Evangelical in the COE. But in the late 1990s that figure was 60%. The tide is turning and the writing is on the wall about the future there. The same thing is happening in the COS and this has had real impacts on Church Polity and Policy and the brakes have been put on several liberal attempts to get same sex relationships okayed. Of course, I think leaving the American Episcopal Church is probably a good idea as they are off the chart, but I still understand why some people opt to stay.

    3. I have also developed a stock standard line when liberals critique evangelical ecclesiology. They often say: “The problem with you Evangelicals is that you don’t have a doctrine of the Church.” My reply always is: “No. The problem with us Evangelicals is that we don’t have YOUR doctrine of the Church!”

  6. Mike, the only reason not to leave the churches you mention is either because you think ‘the tide is turning’, or because you are committed to those churches by conviction or by personal affiliation.

    I think Wright is right to be angry with the conservative evangelicals in his church on this one, because, if they are threatening to leave, on what principle are they going to do so? A change in their convictions, or some pretence that allowing gay (friendly) bishops is the final straw?

    It’s all very murky, and makes me think that the most pragmatic form of church government is probably some form of independency. But, all the current struggles between evangelicals and non-evangelicals in churches persuade me that very few of our leaders hold to a doctrine of church government consistently. At heart, we’re all anabaptists now. Jim’s question about Stott’s change of heart is pertinent.

    As for evangelicals in the CofS, well, I’m not sure any of us really think we can reverse the decline. Many ministers in the CofS may now be evangelical, but there are still very few evangelical churches in the CofS.

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