Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The end of Auckland Anglicanism?

The irony of all the rhetoric pouring out of, and into St Matthew's-in-the-City with their billboards and cutting edge pronouncements on this and that, is that Anglicanism in Auckland is fading away. Far from the Matthean missiology blowing fresh life into Auckland Anglicanism, the end is nigh. At least that is how I read this article in the NZ Herald. Actually, I think the article could go further, especially since this pretentious Auckland newspaper entitles itself the "New Zealand" Herald. There is no particular reason to think that decline of Anglican churches, mainstream churches, and non-immigrant adherence to Catholic churches is confined to Auckland.

Thus amidst reshaping of ministry units in NZ dioceses, especially in the post quake (i.e. exposure of high costs of buildings) phase of our life, we face the age old question of proclaiming the gospel. What is the gospel in the 21st century? How do we best proclaim it in word and deed? Are we proclaiming it? More urgent (arguably) than rearranging our congregational life and its housing is the Matthew 28:20 question: what is our mission and where is it focused?

We face an urgent need if we are to live as viable and vital Anglican churches into the 21st century. But where is that facing taking place? Not at General Synod. Mostly not at local diocesan synods. Probably not in other important meetings of our church (e.g. TPMC).

What will it take for us to focus on our mission? The next General Synod will be held in Paihia in 2014, a Bay of Islands location  near to where Marsden first preached the gospel in 1814. But will that be an outward show of gospel orientation with the substance of the business devoted to ... internal bickering over finances?


The Good Tale said...

The word of God is exact. The woman of Rev 12 is now here. The woman is not a church, nor Mary, nor Israel, she is the prophet like unto Moses and Elijah Matt 17:3, Acts 3:21-23, Luke 1:17 delivering the true word John 1:1 from the wilderness to prepare a people for the Lord’s return. God our Father will not put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer7:31, Jer 19:5. Turn your heart to the children of God. A gift is now delivered to the whole world as a witness Matt 24:14. Prove all things.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

Immigration presents the churches with a great opportunity for gospel witness and Christian hospitality. I remember being amazed to meet a group of shia muslims from Saudi Arabia and thinking - how amazing is God! to bring this isolated group (from a Gospel perspective, at least) half-way round the world into contact with the message of Jesus.

But I agree with you - there lies the challenge. As recipients of such great privileges comes great responsibilities - will we prove to be faithful witnesses.


Father Ron Smith said...

"He estimated Catholics in Auckland to be about 12 per cent of the population and Anglicans having dropped to less than 10 per cent."

- Dr. Lineham : NZ Herald Report -

Discounting Peter's untoward reference to St.Matthew's in the City of Auckland; one can easily recognise the basis of Dr.Lineham's thesis for his scenario on the phenomenon of the growth of formal Roman Catholicism in that city.

With only 10% Anglican population - as opposed to 12% Roman Catholic - there are bound to be more RCs in Church on Sundays. Also, immigrant Pacific Islanders are more likely to attend Church. So that these figures, added to the Roman Catholic immigrant population from other countries, have sustained an increase in the figures.

The true fact is that there are less locally-born Roman Catholics going to Church than ever. The true increase is from immigration - which is not occurring from the UK.

Anonymous said...

The liberal ideology of churches like St Matthews has failed. Liberalism's fruit is declining churches and congregations. The only parts of Anglicanism growing in NZ are evangelical charismatic.

People, especially new converts, want Biblical truth and the real life changing power of the Spirit, not thinly disguised secular-liberal ideology.