Monday, 18 February 2013

Entryism Active in the Church of England

So, here we go, and outside London: entryism inside the Church of England.

Entryism is where a small body that keeps a tight control of itself invades and uses a host of a more mdoerate body because that body has a wider outreach than the small group could ever hope to acquire, despite the fact that the small body can attract to a limited extent larger numbers of its own fanatical types and some newer marginal people under its wing. The small group also takes opportunities to go out into the larger body and take over, bit by bit, as the opportunities present, units of the larger body's operation. The usual channels of decision making become subverted under the entryists' often informal and preplanned means of control. The model is trotskyite, and was shown with the actions of the Militant Tendency inside the Labour Party.

The larger body is usually undergoing weaknesses and transition, and is ripe for actions taken against it: and the small body seeks to weaken the host further as it takes to itself the hosts' shell institutions and acquire them to itself.

Near the Unitarian church at Fulwood is the Reform based Church of England Christ Church. Already this church planted Christ Church Central in Sheffield, in 2003, without diocesan support, and now both are planting Christ Church Walkley. The difference now is that this Church of England congregation is ordaining its own deacon via the actions of GAFCON.

Trained appropriately at the 'approved' Oak Hill Theological College, Peter Jackson has been an associate unordained leader at the Christ Church Central, and the congregations wanted him ordained. They didn't ask the Church of England locally or nationally, or the diocesan bishop, but the Anglican Mission in England, their own body, part of GAFCON and the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, and so he was ordained out in Kenya. Thus foreign, international, bishops are providing the entryism. Archbishop of Kenya, Eliud Wabukala and the Bishop of Kitui, Josephat Mule, ordained him as deacon: it just so happens that the Archbishop is chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council.

More than this, Christ Church Central has a trustee who is also a Diocese of Sheffield General Synod member and a member of the Crown Nominations Commission.

So the question is, what is the Church of England, now under new management, or even the diocese going to do about it? We know what the last Archbishop of Canterbury did - precisely nothing other than appeasement with his Advent statement of 2007. This one, well: he's a Holy Trinity Brompton man, so might even be an enthusiast for all this! But, really, ordaining a deacon abroad, and circumventing the given structures in the locality, cannot be the method of the managerial Archbishop.

The argument of Christ Church, starting at Fulwood, is that such a small percentage of Sheffield is Christian in any recognisable sense. But imagine if Christ Church, its ministry, its trustees and those ordained by bishops abroad, were to become 'successful' in outreach, unlike the rest of the Church of England. Who'd then be in charge in Sheffield and the region? There'd be a Church of England on the one hand, and an AMiE Church in/ of England on the other, with bishops provided under different management and in Africa, with the AMiE body thus invading the Church of England in terms of its parishes taken over and deciding its own bishops and personnel and present into its highest institutions.

Ultimately this action builds a different 'power centre' or indeed third province with its own rules of ordination; the equivalent would be if some retired liberal-leaning bishops got together and started consecrating women priests into bishops and they started their own operations but still called themselves Church of England. Everyone for themselves then!

So says me, of a happy English Presbyterian, a body that was always reluctantly congregationalist in polity. But then Unitarians organise themselves and it is quite clear who they are not.

See Thinking Anglicans. Pluralist Website


Kenneth Robertson said...

Entryism is not totally unknown elsewhere in the CofE,even without overseas ordination.It can and does happen within the Unitarian fold occasionally - one chapel I know of seems to have become largely Pagan in identity as regular numbers have dwindled.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

You misunderstand Unitarianism. Unitarian churches change according to the people in them, and the shift towards Paganism is entirely legitimate. We have Pagans in our congregation too, the real deal (go out on Pagan dates and hold celebrations). It is in keeping with the Transcendentalist tradition too. You cannot have entryism in Unitarianism because each congregation runs itself.

There are other groups in the C of E, yes, but none of them retain prior decision making as a group with, at the same time, a burrowing in with intent to overcome authority structures with their own.

Anonymous said...

The word has been used in Unitarianism. Around 2007 it was used in a blog post with respect to non-Christian Unitarians. The original post disappeared when the individual's blog was reorganised.

However, someone did respond in his own blog and mentioned how he was uncomfortable with the use of the word "entryism". Therefore, there is still a reference to this event.

Here is a link to the response:

The date of the response is 22 May 2007 and its title is "Response to Andrew Brown".

A Unitarian Elephant!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a pedant, but a couple of points of fact need to be clarified. It's worth pointing our that neither Christ Church Walkley or Christ Church Central are part of the Church of England, even though Central would probably have liked to have been. They are both independent.

Therefore their description of themselves as 'Anglican' is one of characteristic, rather than polity. It also means that the reason that they didn't ask 'the Church of England locally or nationally, or the diocesan bishop', was that strictly speaking, they weren't in a position to do so.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

The entryism is located at Christ Church Fulwood, which is C of E and the centre of the franchise.

Anonymous said...

You are operating on total double standards here... The unitarian / UU church has had its historic character mostly destroyed by entryism. Fact.

The character of a unitarian / UU church in London or even in Hull is very different to the character of churches in the 'heartlands' of eastern Europe or New England or 1800s England... part of this is natural evolution and we could say this of all churches but the change in many unitarian / UU churches over the past 40 years is wholescale... and it has been wrought by people coming into unitarian / UU churches from other churches, often lapsed evangelicals who have gone from dogmatically loving Christianity to dogmatically hating it.

And if you really think about it, all those old glorious unitarian / UU churches that give the current gangs of occult meddlers, polygamists, pro-euthanasiaists etc their platform and credibility were originally paid for by committed believers in a very different kind of unitarian / UU than theirs. They did not donate their earnings for this legacy. So its not just entryism, its theft.

Looking around the web the Sheffield church you speak about is Anglican in character even if that is at the far end. But then Anglicanism has become a very broad church, as you should well know seeing as you are an ex-Anglican yourself (and one who cannot let go judging by the content of this blog). And the church you mention at least seems to be building new churches from their own means doing it the proper way whether you like it or not.

I wonder how big their congregations is compared to Hull??? Are all these people attending zombies, or have they found something worthwhile? And I wonder how much they are doing charity-wise compared to Hull??

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

The argument about change was settled with the Lady Hewley case at 1844 when Parliament gave a 25 year period of change for the possession of trusts. So the Unitarian Churches are now *defined* by changing. The Calvinists and still trinitarians thus tried to get back their money when it went Unitarian. In these multifaith days the level of change is all the greater, partly because Christianity is in such intellectual trouble as offering the causality of anything at all.

The creedless argument became (was not originally) one of change. So our churches change when the people come into it.

Good luck to these other plants and so on, but the entryism is the usurping of the decision of the Church of England to have bishop led authority. Each priest is a representative of the bishop geographically and a bishop in Kenya is interfering via some wayward congregation in terms of how it has done its plants. It's quite possible in Sheffield to plant with the blessing of the local bishop. But that would lose Conservative Evangelical control.

I'm not a Christian but in the Martineau institutional sense I'm Unitarian. I no longer say the Lord's Prayer and if I provide worship I no longer include it nor a Christian content although it remains as a kind of liturgy. These sorts of changes are quite common within the Unitarians and it's a pity it wasn't happening in Britain more often twenty years plus ago when I was doing the same then. But more are now, certainly.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

As regards Andrew Brown, the minister at Cambridge. He now uses the postliberal tag as at Yale theology, the notion that Christianity is a 'role performance' matter. He is virtually atheist, otherwise, but continues to go along with this conserving theology. I have no idea why he does this, and certainly is not necessary within the Unitarian fold. It is usually carried out by trinitarian church holders who have lost theist and other-worldly beliefs and hop on to the postmodernist wagon, more usually through Radical Orthodoxy on the Anglican-Catholic side than on the Protestant side that this represents. Andrew Brown is a one-off in respect of the Unitarians.

Anonymous said...

"if I provide worship I no longer include it nor a Christian content"

"Christianity is in such intellectual trouble as offering the causality of anything at all"

"I have no idea why he does this, and certainly is not necessary within the Unitarian fold"

And that, Mr Worsfold, basically sums up your so called pluralism.

How you claim to be Unitarian is really quite confusing.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

The confusion is yours, not mine. The time when 'Unitarian' meant a theological position was long ago. That was the days of Priestley and Lindsey, but even then Priestley moved from an Arian to a Unitarian position theologically. The position of 'being Unitarian' is being creedless, and being creedless implies change. I took the name 'Pluralist' from the Unitarians, as it happens, even though I kept it through being elsewhere (2004-2009). It refers to the Christian-others of Unitarians, the multi-faiths (including Christians). My own position is one of no boundaries in terms of what I use and how I choose to use. My point about Andrew Brown is why he struggles to retain a narrow definition of things if he is basically atheistic - there is no need to keep up appearances, which is the basis of postliberal Christianity.

Anonymous said...

you are just making unitarian up to fit you basically... just like the polygamists, abortion-lovers and Liverpool Pathwayists...

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Indeed not: I refer to specific historical moments and to personalities in its past. My definition of Unitarianism is well grounded. Those who regard it as a theological position miss out key moments and trends from history.