Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ruth Gledhill's Interesting Assessment

Ruth Gledhill, as reported by herself, offers this assessment in the post-Glasspool election prognostications:

"My own view is that in terms of the leadership of the Church of England, the dreams of liberals, and the oppressed minorities they speak out in support of, are almost dead."

Her larger commentary can be found here. I do not have time to unpick her commentary which I think bears careful critique. But on the observation offered above I think she is on to something, something which is likely to be proven true in ACANZP. Putting it bluntly, in a declining church participation situation in the Western world, there are fewer and fewer liberals proportionately to vote in liberal leadership, offer and support liberal candidates for ministry, and to vote for liberal measures in synods. There are exceptions, TEC being the most obvious one (though even there it is worth looking carefully at how robust the liberal groupings are, though their proportionate strength increases with every conservative who leaves).

Or, am I quite wrong?


Anonymous said...

"Or, am I quite wrong?"

The problem is that erstwhile conservatives may morph into liberals, if their biblical foundations are weak or the pressure to conform to liberal societal norms is strong; e.g., politcally acceptable 'inclusive' mush.
At the same time, it must be recognized that the infusion of thousands of women into the ordained ministry of Tec and the Church of England has made the overall tenor of the ministry more liberal - even if this was not intended. One of the laws of unintended consequences?
Liberal church decline - something that besets Western Protestantism generally - reflects general 20th century decline in Western Chrisitan culture, a nullity into which Islam is emerging in Europe.

Interesting that the new Bishop of Auckland has a Bible College background in his training. Is this still part of his self-understanding?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Anonymous
I think it important that bishops themselves speak publicly about their theological commitments rather than me.

True: conservatives morph into liberals. Just as conservatives keep church numbers up, so liberal never quite leave the church because of that morphing!