‘Religious right’ owns church’s future

Published November 1, 1998

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is “powerfully alive” in the Anglican Communion, but “liberalism … is dead.”

That’s the blunt assessment of Bishop Michael Ingham on the Lambeth Conference. The once-a-decade meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world voted overwhelmingly this summer in favour of the church’s traditional stand on homosexuality: baptized homosexuals are part of the church but their partnerships shouldn’t be blessed and non-celibate homosexuals shouldn’t be ordained.

“The religious right triumphed completely and the next generation belongs to them. Liberalism in the Anglican Communion is dead.”

Bishop Ingham’s comments on the end of liberal influence in the church came from an interview to be published in a book on the Lambeth Conference by James Solheim. Mr. Solheim, a veteran journalist who is director of Episcopal News Service for the U.S. Episcopal Church, covered the Lambeth Conference this summer. His book is expected to be published later this year by Church Publishing Corp. in the U.S. and will be available at the Anglican Book Centre in Toronto.

“Those of us who are liberal will either have to leave or become a remnant witnessing back to the church a dimension of the Gospel that it is not now willing to hear,” Bishop Ingham told Mr. Solheim, adding they are “powerless and voiceless.”

In the September issue of Topic, the diocesan newspaper of New Westminster, the bishop wrote: “The principal message of the Lambeth Conference, whatever you may have read about it, is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is powerfully alive in the Anglican Communion.”

Although he was “saddened, not surprised” by the vote on homosexuality, he wrote in the paper that more worrying was “a clear tendency toward biblical fundamentalism.”

The result, Mr. Solheim wrote, is that Bishop Ingham “said that some of the Canadian bishops even wondered if they could continue in the church – and there would be conservatives happy to see them go.”

To which Bishop Ingham comments, “Something central and vital to Anglicanism would be lost.”


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