“All things lawful and honest” is a new blog which seeks to make informed, reasoned, theological and constructive comment on the challenges facing the Church of England.
The creation of this blog is prompted by the response of the House of Bishops to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
However, those who have collaborated in the creation of this blog feel these challenging times have brought to the fore a number of pressing issues in the life of the church which were present long before the Coronavirus emergency.
These include: our understanding of the church’s character, and its life as the Body of Christ; the importance of its worship; the duties, ministry, and legal rights of the clergy; the quality of formation necessary for leadership; the evangelistic potential of the parochial system; the overlooking of the plight of low income communities; accountability within the Church and transparency in its decisions; the bureaucratization of the church’s processes alongside the exaltation of secular management theory; and the theological vacuum in which some decisions appear to be taken.
This blog is intended as a place where a wide range of different voices from diverse backgrounds and theological traditions can contribute to a thoughtful, respectful, and theologically informed debate as a way of renewing our church and helping it to plot a way out of the current malaise.
As that debate takes place, we wish to take as foundational several key points of principle as we seek to contribute to discussion:
We aim to speak THEOLOGICALLY, drawing on the deep traditions of Christian thought and reflection.
We aim to speak in an INFORMED way. We hope to invite contributors who have specific experience, skills, or a proven academic track record in the realm in which they write.
We aim to speak in a KIND, HONEST, AND GENEROUS WAY, seeking the perspectives of others, and wanting to open up transparent and generous debate.
We aim to speak JUSTLY, having a concern for the poorest and most marginalised.
We aim to speak PASTORALLY and PAROCHIALLY, drawing on the experience of the Church at parish level and in its daily ministry with the People of God, convinced that the parish system of the Church of England remains one of its most vital evangelistic and missional gifts.
We aim to speak LITURGICALLY and SACRAMENTALLY. We are convinced the worshipping life of the People of God defines the Church as the Body of Christ. It is a vital necessity and not an optional extra in which Church buildings are signs of God’s presence in the world, and icons of his love.
We aim to speak CANONICALLY, acknowledging that we live within a Church whose order is governed by Canon law, the spirit-filled ordinances by which our life together is lived out in justice, love, and mutual respect. We hope our contribution to the debate will be used by God to help the Church steer a wise path out of this crisis as we seek to proclaim afresh the glorious Gospel of Christ in this generation.