Sunday, 9 January 2011

I agree with Philip Giddings...!

It has come as a bit of a shock, but I have actually found myself agreeing with the new Chair of Laity in General Synod -  Dr Philip Giddings!
It is a surprise because I have previously found myself at odds with Dr Giddings on numerous occasions.
Firstly, there  is the fact that he is a Trustee of Anglican Mainstream.  I have been at a meeting of Anglican Mainstream where he was nodding in approval with a smile on his face when a speaker from the United States said "the time is coming when you need to decide - if you are not with us, you are against us - will you stay, or will you leave the Church of England!"
Second is the fact that when Jeffrey John was appointed as Bishop of Reading in 2003, he was one of the protagonists who ensured that the Archbishop of Canterbury would force Dr John to step down from the appointment because of his sexuality.
But in spite of all of that, I find myself agreeing with the comments he is reported to have made following his election as Chair of Laity in the Church of England General Synod.
"Mission, mission, mission" were the priorities he set forth to the Church of England Newspaper for the next 5 years, and I could not agree more.  We desperately need to rediscover our mission of reaching out to others with the Good News of Jesus Christ rather than squabbling among ourselves.  Proclaiming the words and work of Jesus should be first and foremost in our minds as we reach out to a lost generation.
"We must continue to be faithful to the timeless truths of the Gospel" he said, and once again, I could not agree more.  Incarnation, Salvation, the Cross and the Resurrection are sidelined all too often in our internal arguments, and we waste far too much time bickering among ourselves, and far too little time declaring the words and works of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
So I agree with Philip Giddings in all the areas that are most important to the Christian Church at this time.  I want to see us focus on mission for the future rather that finding ways to preserve the past.  I want to see us proclaim Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life.  I want to see the Church of England transformed into a mission orientated Body of Christ, reaching others with the Good News of Christ.
And if we can focus on this together, united behind Christ as Lord and Saviour, perhaps there is hope for the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.
But if we continue divide over such peripheral issues as sex and sexuality, we will continue to undermine the Gospel that we seek to proclaim by our constant in-fighting.  In words of Jesus Christ, "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life" not "Conservative moral theology is the Way the Truth and the Life".
Please, Dr Giddings - could we just agree to follow Jesus together and let Him decide if we are right of wrong?  That would seem to be much more Biblical than the disagreements which, far too often, characterise our message.


  1. " I want to see the Church of England transformed into a mission orientated Body of Christ, reaching others with the Good News of Christ."

    So do I! However if Philip Gidding's "good news" for LGBT people is that following Christ entails lifelong celibacy - then it rings a little hollow to me!

  2. Absolutely Sue! But we need to be open to people changing their minds, and focusing on the things that are really important. That is my hope in this blog. Thanks for commenting.

  3. So refreshing to stumble across your blog and see your compassionate and sensible view of sexuality alongside a living faith. Mission is what churches desperately need to concentrate on, and a welcoming, inclusive and joyful faith is what will help in reaching out to people. Every Blessing in your work.

  4. Thank you Freda - wouldn't it be great if the first things which came to mind when people heard the word 'church' were "welcoming, inclusive and joyful!"