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Onward, Christian Soldiers? Signs of life in the Church of England

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By See-Dubya  •  May 26, 2008 08:00 PM

An odd topic for a day focused on American sacrifices, I know, but this is a neglected issue. The Church of England is a rich and wonderful institution grown feeble and decrepit, sunk in relativism and multicultural senescence.

As someone who attended services there, it seemed to me that in general, they don’t have faith so much as some nice sentiments and memories. Once a Church of England vicar told me that most educated British Anglicans don’t actually believe in the Virgin Birth anymore.

It’s sad if you’re a Christian just to see a branch of the Church wither. But even from a secular and political perspective this is a tragedy. The spiritual vacuum in Britain is being filled by Islam, some of which is militant, intolerant and dangerous, and much of which doesn’t seem particularly concerned with the militant, intolerant, and dangerous part.*

What’s more, Anglicanism at its best is a practical and reasonable faith, focused on history and apostolic roots, one that has given us the likes of Churchill and C.S. Lewis. Again, stepping back from particular doctrinal criticisms, what a great civilization a confident and strong CoE has birthed. Whether you agree with the 39 Articles or not, most societies could benefit from a few more old-school Anglicans. They’re usually good gardeners, know what wine goes with which meat, despise slavery, work well in teams, and can administrate households, colonies, or businesses with ease.

Surprisingly, there is one Church of England clergyman who seems to agree with that sentiment. Rather than resigning his flock to a shabby twilight of faith, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali actually seems to think that there is a case to be made for attempting to convert people of other faiths to his:

Pakistan-born Dr Nazir-Ali told the Mail on Sunday that, while Church leaders had rightly shown sensitivity to British Muslims, “I think it may have gone too far.”

He added: “Our nation is rooted in the Christian faith and that is the basis of welcoming people of other faiths. You cannot have an honest conversation on the basis of fudge.”

Telegraph blogger Damian Thompson notes that the CoE response to Bishop Nazir-Ali’s proposals seems to be drawn from a very different playbook:

And did you notice the official Church of England response to the controversy? A spokesman said: “We have a mission-focused Christian presence [sic] in every community, including those where there are a large number of Muslims. That engagement is based on the provisions of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides for freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

Ah yes, Article 9. A much more agreeable document on which to base one’s “engagement” than the inconvenient demands of the New Testament.

These battles fought over Christian thought will affect the course of the world. If you think, by the way, that just because you don’t believe in a particular religion, you will not be affected by its conflicts and currents, I have a big hole in Manhattan to show you. The doctrines preached in our pulpits do and will affect our politics in ways both subtle and awesome, and for this reason we should keep a close eye on the strange paths taken by Christian clerics.

It seems strange to say so, but I believe our liberty depends on their decisions.

*To be fair, Catholicism has benefited greatly from the decline of the CoE as well.
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{Post by See-Dubya. More from me about Christianity in Europe at this Hot Air post.}

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