Disestablishment and the Church of England

This video at the New Culture Forum’s spring conference 2022 shows some of the current problems in the Church of England. Some of us have known a much longer list for a much longer time.

However, one proposed ‘solution’ was to disestablish the Church of England, which was compared to privatising a national institution. The example which provoked this ‘solution’ was the method of appointing the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The speaker advocated returning to the Anglican formularies but seemed oblivious to the dangers of disestablishment. Disestablishment is no solution at all and shows 1. how little people know of its history, 2. how little they know about the biblical teaching concerning church-state relations and 3. how unaware they are that it is fraught with dangers.

When this subject was last aired seriously, its proponent was Archbishop Hapgood of York. However, having looked into it, he changed his mind, using the analogy that one would unravel a thread without knowing the unintended consequences.

Truly, it is time to reform the Church of England but it needs a Reformer.

Solutions

Most people can see the problems, but being articulate and decisive does not mean that one can see the solutions.

All good things can be twisted and abused. It is true that Establishment can be abused and has been abused throughout history when prince and priest have bolstered each other’s position against the public good, instead of being mutually supportive in their independent spheres of government. Here is an example of a churchman quoting the Queen’s words, words drafted for her to say, but quoted because of the apparent truth and authority of royal opinion, followed by the churchman’s use of false dichotomy.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Christian withdrawal from public and institutional life is handing over national life to the secular realm and creating a new secular establishment.

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