In this blog I attempt to offer reflections as an evangelical seeking to uphold the catholicity of the Anglican Communion. I am conservative, but not so conservative that I am unchallenged by fellow conservatives, nor so open-minded as a conservative that I am unchallenged by liberal or progressive commenters. Sometimes conservatives are motivated by a desire to uphold the truth of the gospel (and care little for whether anyone is convinced or not). In my own case I hope I am motivated by a desire to uphold the truth of the gospel. It's just that I recognise so many competing claims, even within that narrow band of the universal church called the 'Anglican Communion', as to what the truth of the gospel consists of that I pay attention to what is persuasive of people. Popularity does not make something true, but it makes it worth thinking carefully about whether it might be true!
Consequently I am a bit of a numbers freak. OK, 'freak' sounds scary: 'very interested in numbers'. Are our churches growing or declining? If the former what is contributing and may be able to be replicated elsewhere? If the latter what might be changed, improved, or reformed?
I am particularly concerned that in the future there is an Anglican church to belong to, especially in these islands, rather than a history book which tells of the rise, decline and demise of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. On the one hand not all conservative approaches to being Anglican are numerically fruitful, but some are! On the other hand there are signs that our numerical decline as a whole church must be connected with a liberal bias to the broad character of our theology (e.g. how come, while we are declining, conservative churches are growing?)
Long story short, one reason I attempt to resist (what I see as) a liberal tide in sectors of our church is that I want our church to survive, better, to flourish, rather than die.
For a snapshot of one Anglican church in the Communion which may not be successfully resisting the liberal tide, go here. NOTE ADDED LATER: One needs to read this article and the comments carefully. The statistics provided are a little confusing. What does not seem confusing, however, is that the linked article works from an alert in an editorial in the Anglican Journal which appears to have grave concerns about church attendance in Canada.