Friday 5 November 2010

That Nazi Speech in Full

Ruth Gledhill, increasingly forgotten behind a paywall, has popped up again with a big splash equating a talk by Wallace Benn at Reform with Hitler and 1939, associating that with a photograph of a Nazi compliant family around the wireless, mis-selected by Ed Tomlinson, the Anglo-Catholic on his way out of the Church of England. It is all a nonsense, of course, driven by the worst demands of journalism for someone otherwise vanishing. His words as given (there are edits) were:

I'm bound to use an analogy, and I use it quite deliberately and carefully. And it slightly frightens me to use it but I do think it's where we're at. I feel very much increasingly that we are in January 1939. We're in and what we mustn't do is create a phoney war. But we need to be aware that there is real serious warfare just around the corner. It's actually arrived in some ways already. And we are in a challenging and serious situation.

Over several issues we may find... I've only two years left before retirement but the Church of England into which I was ordained is not the same Church today. Some decisions it may well make over the next five years are going to marginalise some of us and are either going to push us either to the very edge or out of the Church and that is a very serious issue. If you feel in your parishes and if your folk wake up to this - they'll wake up pretty quick and you should help them to wake up - if that's moved over already [?]. If they understand that the rector they like and the curate they love - sorry, like and love: I use them interchangeably (they may love the rector and like the curate), love and like; but if they suddenly realise that the ministry that is caused by only God's grace - that church to grow that they love: they may not get in another generation.

You see, there are some of our younger guys in theological colleges who may not be able to take the oath of canonical obedience if no proper provision is made when women bishops come into the Church of England, which is about taking an oath of obedience to a bishop and heirs and successors. I mean that's a very serious issue and it is a legal issue and to which there has to be a legal answer. But the Saint Augustine Society has... We need to be careful when we talk about a missionary agency; it's not like the old missionary societies CMS and the old Crosslinks and so on, but actually a society of mission presbyters for England, which has lay membership and Church membership - but is committed to mission, but is a way of Gospel envitled [?] people networking, standing together, supporting one another and having what I call sort of silver and gold membership...

And sometimes when you say to our Church folk, "Well you know there isn't such an issue here for our folk and we're quite happy with the relationship and thank God for that," but actually over the border in the neighbouring diocese there may be people pulling their hair out... Some of us don't have too much left to pull out!


To be fair to us sometimes that slowness [to change] has been a good thing, I suppose, not to be pushed around by the kind of wind of change... And sometimes not [error?] to avoid confrontation on second order issues, but that's not where we are now. We have major confrontation on first order gospel related issues and an inability to grasp hold of the nettles and deal with them. That becomes damaging to the Church.

Most of us here will know - probably all of us here will know - that when the New Testament uses (when Paul uses) the word 'sound' doctrine it is healthy doctrine, because when the Church moves away from apostolic faith and apostolic commitment it becomes unhealthy. The literal meaning of the word is as joints dislocated and that's what we're seeing. And when those of us who want to stand by the Gospel and the Bible are accused of dividing the Church are being troublemakers, it's actually those who are introducing novelty into the Church that are the troublemakers. The people who want to move away from apostolic faith and life, truth and lifestyle (the apostles' model for us, the foundation of the Church): they're the ones who are dislocating the Church. If we don't deal with this the whole Church suffers as a result.

...'We'll give you an answer that it is really an old boy's network; it's all about social connections.' But actually it's always been at best, always been: we're a confessional Church. It's always about what you believe. And it isn't about an old boy's network. You see, what's happening I think in the Anglican Communion is the same thing that happened in the Commonwealth a little while ago. People are saying we want to belong to the Commonwealth but we don't want the British Prime Minister to always be the Chairman and always tell us what to do or stop us from doing what we know is the right thing to do. And so as the global Church has become - in the two thirds world, the Global South generally speaking two thirds world, has become stronger and found its voice. It is not prepared to be pushed around any more by the liberal Western Church. And thank God they're not. It's very healthy. And so we are seeing a whole shift really in terms of power and influence from the West to the new world, so to speak. That's a good thing.

The context of this is enough: of a selected folk ('our younger guys') as in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans on the one hand, and then selected churches and parishes into the proposed Saint Augustine Society with its own chosen bishops. It is just another way of having a third province or non-geographical diocese. The Church of England General Synod is as likely to accept this as it was a third province or non-geographical diocese, simply because the whole GAFCON/ FCA business is of a Church within a Church, structurally embedding the entryism of Conservative Evangelicals. It is sufficient to understand this without going into the realms of Nazi fantasy.

However, according to Gregory Cameron, Modern Church and Inclusive Church aren't Nazis but the nearest to an ecclesiastical version of the neo-fascist British National Party and a bunch of little Englanders. So good to see the spread of reason about Englishness and a National Church from a bishop exported to the Church in Wales. Obviously some of these hierarchs are getting worried.

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