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The Credibility Crisis

Lee Gatiss, the Director of Church Society, speaks to the Council of Affinity (formerly the British Evangelical Council) about the current credibility crisis in the Church of England.

Lee Gatiss addresses the growing credibility crisis he believes is developing in the Church of England. He looks at four claims being made in the church, and examines them to see how credible they are. They are:

We want you to flourish – the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other Bishops have said that they want conservative evangelicals, particularly complementarians (those who are unhappy with women’s ordination) to flourish within the church.

Our official teaching on sexuality has not changed – officially the Church of England still holds to the 1987 General Synod motion on sexuality, and has the Lambeth Resolutions of 1998 to back that up. But with the new Pilling Report on sexuality now being debated, that teaching is being challenged and even undermined from below.

I am an evangelical – what is the definition of ‘evangelical’ and how is this affecting us in the Church of England Evangelical Council? Is the only thing which unites evangelicals these days a shared opposition to liberal sexual ethics? When even evangelicals are denying and deriding penal substitutionary atonement, what is the future for this ‘brand’?

We are committed to the Church of England – the FIEC is thriving precisely because it has a strong sense of purpose and identity, and Baptists and Presbyterians celebrate their theological distinctives with passion. But although Anglican Evangelicals sometimes claim to be committed to their denomination, they sometimes look down on those who speak that way. Lee Gatiss argues that we have nothing to be ashamed about in being Anglican, and says we can be committed to the future of the Church of England in a credible way, not retreating into a ghetto or running too quickly for the lifeboats.

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