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CoE progressives vs Sound doctrine

Read time: 2 minutes.

A Civitas report has been written viewing, from the outside, the CoE as an institution. This has been reviewed by 'Archbishop Cranmer' (

The comments to the review are well worth reading as it feels like they reflect the typical opinions of grass-roots Christians - although many seem to be 'mainstream' Anglicans rather than HTB style evangelicals.

We need to be more involved with this debate not least because Justin Welby is seen as an HTB evangelical - though I don't think the HTB network means to be 'progressive' in the same way, but it says so little on this and teaches less, so it's hard to know.

Misplaced activism

The CoE's quoted reliance on misplaced social activism as a form of mission is a bit like Jesus making the priorities of Judas or Simon (the Zealot) central to his approach rather than actually being a contrast to them. The Bishops themselves sound more like the Pharisees, trying to maintain power and curry favour with the spirit of the age. 

There are some Bishops who have stood out against the 'progressive' agenda: Michael Nazir-Ali, Gavin Ashenden (both now left CoE) and NT Wright (now retired from diocesan work). Not sure if there are any others? There are organisations like Christian Concern, Barnabas Fund who have not bent the knee...

Progressive politics

In the General (and other) Synods this is the background that current church politics are being played out on. The report covers just 3 areas and does not touch on the attitudes that the Bishops have toward gender identity and Biblical sexuality, or future CoE/parish organisation in detail, but the direction of travel is clear.

It shows that their intentions are often very different to what we might think. So it's not what we would hope - trying to see what the Holy Spirit is seeking to do and following him, of human scale gathering for authentic worship, nurture and sharing of gifts, working out the whole counsel of God

You - speak up

I think it also shows that we need to engage with these wider issues at our local churches (and wider networks like HTB or New Wine etc). This does not necessarily mean tackling it head-on - it can be through more purposeful teaching of 'sound doctrine', which is beautiful.

It would be interesting to reverse-engineer the online talks of the last few years and work out what our preached doctrine actually is!

Some direct discussion would however be useful as we can read about this all in the newspapers but somehow we in church have nothing to say. John Stott said preachers should study for sermons with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other (sometimes it feels like we have a self-help book in the other...)


Without this dual perspective we are not really helping Christians in their work-day lives. Nor are we showing, for those who are seeking after God, a profoundly better and more truthful way of looking at the world.