Church of England

Diocese of Truro advertises for Mission leader, but “You do not need to be a practising Christian”

“Mission goes out from God. Mission is God’s way of loving and saving the world.” So declared the Church of England at the 1998 Lambeth Conference. This quotation leads the church’s Mission and Evangelism page on its website, along with a brief exposition of its missiology:

As Christians we follow Jesus who said “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20.21). We are called to serve God’s mission by living and proclaiming the good news.

“It’s not the church of God that has a mission, but the God of mission who has a church”.

For Anglican Christians God’s mission is about transformation – transforming individual lives, transforming communities and transforming the world. As we follow Jesus Christ, we believe that God’s mission is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in three ways:

  • through the Bible
  • through the tradition and life of the Church
  • through our own listening, praying, thinking and sharing as we respond to our own context.

You’d think, therefore, that all those who are employed by the Church of England to lead its mission would, of necessity, be Christians.

Not so.

The Diocese of Truro (strapline: “Discovering God’s Kingdom / Growing the Church”) is advertising for a Strategic Programme Manager who will be responsible for “the strategic leadership of the Transforming Mission programme”. This post is not simply managerial, but one of leadership. They specify to potential applicants: “You do not need to be a practising Christian”

Since when did Church of England leaders not need to be practising Christians?

Consider the job specification:

Truro job spec1

The stated objectives of ‘Transforming Mission’ are:

1) Develop a thriving missional community in the churches across Falmouth;
2) Develop an effective ministry to the student community in Falmouth;
3) Identify, nurture and train future leaders in ministry, lay and ordained, who can be deployed in the Deanery, Diocese and the wider Church;
4) Develop a model of Town Resource Church, which will be replicated across towns in Cornwall and beyond.
5) To develop an interconnected network of resources to be shared across the town to best serve the missional community, including venues, equipment and people.

How may one be a mission leader without hearing the promptings of the Holy Spirit and abiding in the Word of God? How may such an important work of God not be founded and dependent upon the humble and prayerful heart of the sincere Christian? What sort of “effective ministry” may be established to students by a non-believer? Are these young people to be taught that repentance, conversion and transformation are unnecessary to salvation? In what sense is it sufficient for a mission leader to be “sympathetic to the aims and objectives of the Church of England” when part of the task is to “Identify, nurture and train future leaders”? It is one thing to “manage stakeholders” and “develop programmes”, but it is quite another to discern and disciple future prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. How might a sympathetic Muslim develop a thriving missional community in the churches across Falmouth? How could a sympathetic Wiccan nurture and train (ie disciple) future leaders in ministry?

If “Mission goes out from God”, does not the mission leader (at every level) need to get themselves right with Jesus? And by ‘right’, we don’t mean perfect, but discipled into everything that precedes the Great Commission? It’s not enough to be meek and merciful: surely they need to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

If “Mission is God’s way of loving and saving the world”, does not the mission leader (at every level) need not only to be “sympathetic to” that love, but to have tasted it? You might know in your brain that salt is sodium chloride, but until it has touched your tongue you cannot truly know the full meaning of Jesus’ exhortation for believers to be the salt of the earth.

How can an unrepentant, unbelieving, disobedient, unregenerate, un-discipled, unabiding and prayerless mission leader possibly go out into the world and witness to the transforming power of the crucified and risen Christ? Or is that not relevant to the Diocese of Truro? Doesn’t transformation and renewal of the heart precede the call to go out and witness? What Christian fellowship can there be without the Holy Spirit? What spiritual wisdom is there without the Word? What understanding of the Mission of God can come from ‘sympathy’ with a set of aims and objectives? Can a barren tree bear fruit by being compassionate and attentive to fig production?

With all due respect to Bishop of Truro and the Archdeacon of Cornwall, haven’t they got this appointment utterly, utterly arse about face?

And note where they advertise this vacancy: “You do not need to be a practising Christian”, but you do need to read the Guardian.

This unrepentant, unbelieving, prayerless but ‘sympathetic’ mission leader must lean to the left.

Just like the milky Messiah.

  • Maalaistollo

    Well, you wouldn’t want the post filled by one of those fundamentalist bigots, would you?

    • Anton

      Will they appoint a Muslim?

      • Maalaistollo

        That would be nice. All that peace and love would show that all religions are really the same, wouldn’t it?

  • Richard B

    We have ‘oxymoronic christians’ thinking it’s no longer necessary to obey Jesus’ commands, so why not let satan’s stooges apply because those are the qualifications the nation wants and demands of everyone?

  • meltemian

    How very ‘Inclusive’!!!

  • Inspector General

    “Right then. Which one of you bastards is responsible…”

    “To be fair, bishop, it was a sort of collective thing we twenty something trendies thought might be appropriate, in…”

    “Don’t tell me. It’s “this day and age”, isn’t it?”

  • IanCad

    HG began yesterday’s post in low spirits – “You cannot know with what life-sapping weariness it must be reported…….”
    Now today’s revelation that it is not necessary to be a Christian in order to direct the spreading of the Gospel must surely have him lying on his couch.
    Take Heart YG. It will only get worse.

    • Inspector General

      Weeping at the bar, surely…

      • IanCad

        Shiraz I think it is – if I recall correctly.

  • And people say the church is becoming secularised…

  • Simon Jones

    As an HR professional I would suggest this may be a misunderstanding by the Diocese of the Equality Act 2010. While it is not permissible generally to discriminate on the grounds of someone’s religion (or lack of religion), there is an exemption where membership of a particular religion is a genuine occupational requirement. The advertised role clearly would fit, in my view, into this category. However, not every CoE role (or indeed role within any religion-based organisation) would do so.

    • Anton

      You were a fine fast bowler before taking up HR!

  • Jeremy Marshall

    It was probably meant to say “Anglican” (so as not to exclude qualifying Methodists), and someone edited it wrong: cock-up, not conspiracy. But that would have been too boring for you to rant about, wouldn’t it?

    • Jeremy Marshall

      PS And to call a non-Christian “prayerless” is insulting and obtuse.

      • Anton

        Jesus never insulted people?

        • Jeremy Marshall

          Only religious hypocrites, I seem to recall.

          • Anton

            What else would you call people who put up an ad like that?

          • Paul Greenwood

            Whited Sepulchres

    • Anton

      You’re guessing, aren’t you? One can only go by what is written. The Bible, for instance.

    • CliveM

      Well that’s at least hopeful although it would suggest incompetence. You will of course have evidence for this?

    • Royinsouthwest

      Then why doesn’t the Diocese say so?

  • Anton

    For God’s sake. I mean that literally.

  • Inspector General

    “NO taigs”

  • Anton

    It is clearly true that secular people have more sense than the high-ups in Truro diocese who posted that ad, so why not invite a few to improve the way it is run?

  • Irene’s Daughter

    I thought the mission of the Church is to point people to Jesus. That objective seems absent from the listed Objectives of the job. If the job does not include introducing the lost to Jesus so that they might gain eternal life it doesn’t really matter that the applicants are not Christians.

    • Paul Greenwood

      It is the “mission” of the Followers of Christ. “The Church” is a secular institution providing a very good living for its Top Management

  • dannybhoy

    It’s called Equal Opportunities, and the CofE is an Equal Opportunities employer.
    I think the principle of equal opportunities can be found in the Bible.
    Probably.

    • Anton

      But try defining it!

      • dannybhoy

        As Sybaseguru says, it’s about salvation, but these days salvation doesn’t figure highly on the CofE’s ‘to do’ list..

    • Sybaseguru

      The equal opportunities in the bible are about salvation – we all have an equal opportunity to believe in Christ and be saved (what Galatians 3:28 is really all about when taken in context). I don’t recollect any other, and 1 Timothy 2:12 is just the opposite.

  • David

    Simply unbelievable !
    Except that it has happened.
    Increasingly the secular thinking entryists, the “Christian atheists”, within the institutional C of E, if not the true and universal Church of Christ, are revealing themselves by their actions.
    “by their fruits ye shall know them”.

    Thankfully today I was much encouraged by one of the regular pastoral newsletters of Archbishop Okoh, current chairman of Gafcon. Those short letters are often the only way I can judge just how far and fast the top tier elements of the C of E’s are travelling towards apostasy and revisionism. Gavin Ashenden’s videos are another almost equally useful source of information. Together the two sources keep informed and together, all those Anglicans within the C of E who remain faithful to Scripture, Tradition and Reason.

  • Mrs S wilson

    You couldn’t make this up. Unbelievable.

    • Arden Forester

      I was going to use that line. Great minds think alike!

  • Merchantman

    Perhaps they worship ( the office holders) another god? Will they place an advert in the Telegraph or Spectator? Will they apologise to the many Christians of a Right leaning belief? Forgive one for asking in such terms but; ‘ what the Hell’s going on?’

  • Paul Greenwood

    Is it a public-funding project or a C of E Project ?

  • Plasterer

    Not wanting to be Devil’s advocate, but did you contact them to make sure it wasn’t a stupid copy/paste blunder?

    That kind of thing often happens with job adverts.

  • CliveM

    Has the Diocese released a statement on this?

    • Chefofsinners

      No. Because when they employed a press officer they acted in the interests of diversity and inclusion by specifying ‘does not need to be able to read, write or speak English’.

  • Anton

    Is it necessary to be a Christian to worship in the diocese?

    • Dolphinfish

      Is it necessary to be a Christian to be an Anglican?

      • Ian

        Yes. Few in the CofE are actually Anglican. Liberal Protestantism is not Anglicanism 🙂

        • David

          Well said, Sir !

  • Ian

    Aaaaand there goes Truro’s lampstand.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Bwahhahhahhahahahahahahahahahahahah sorry, but I am rolling on the floor laughing! It just gets more and more bizarre…

  • John

    Situations Wanted: a new role has been created to lead blind persons in Cornwall. The successful candidate can be short-sighted, long-sighted, otherwise visually impaired, or totally blind. Cataracts welcome. Forty grand salary!

  • Reading the job advert, it sounds more like a project management position than anything missionary. Take away the title and it could be a job in any other sector. To me, the real shame is that the church feels it has to dress up in worldly clothes and embrace the jargon of the business world. As Jesus said to St. Peter: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, as you have exceptional project management skills, the ability to manage stakeholders, implement change and balance multiple project simultaneously.”

    • David

      Good to see more people beginning to quote Scripture from the new, innovative, progressive and ever so shiny, “International Managerial Bullshit” translation. Our new Bible will really fill the pews !

      • The pews? The IMBV Bible is only designed to fit into comfy, repositionable plush chairs!

  • Inspector General

    …and Jesus wept. Wait! No he isn’t! Those are tears of laughter running down his face…

    • Chefofsinners

      I think you will find it is a cold sweat.

  • Chefofsinners

    I fully support this idea. Look at the CoE’s track record on evangelism. A non-Christian would almost certainly be more effective.

  • Chefofsinners

    Can anyone update me? What is the missionary position?

    • Royinsouthwest

      I’m sure that most of the applicants know the answer to that and will be able to describe alternatives as well.

    • Sarky

      I think you come out on top!

  • ‘Quem Jupiter vult perdere, dementat prius.’

    • IrishNeanderthal

      I had thought of a similar saying, but in English.

      Isaac Asimov wrote a novel, based on the saying “Against stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain”.

  • IrishNeanderthal
  • Ok, they’ve obviously done this to try and attract non-Christians, but if one isn’t a Christian when one applies, is it a pre-requisite that one is open to becoming Christian in order to perform the job properly?

  • ecclesiaman

    This does not look like a mistake. There is very likely to be a difference between a practising Anglican and a practising Christian, some MP’s come to mind. We probably have too many of the former and too few of the latter!
    The expediency of administrators is preferred to the calibre of actual Christians. The arm of the flesh preferred to the enabling of the Holy Spirit. Says it all really.

    • Chefofsinners

      It is as Tony Benn said: “The Labour party has never been a socialist party, although there have always been socialists in it – a bit like Christians in the Church of England.”

    • Merchantman

      As you say it says it all. This is in effect a job equivalent to Bishop-lite. Non- Christians may apply.

  • Dolphinfish

    I suppose in fairness we should enquire if this has anything to do with discrimination law. I think if should be covered under the exceptions, but has anyone asked?

    • Inspector General

      One is reminded of when the Equal Opportunities Act came into being. Crafties, such as publicans wanting barmaids tried to get round the thing by advertising for ‘bar staff that look good in a dress’. That too was made illegal.

      • Anton

        I’m sure you’d have looked great, Inspector.

  • David

    Ukip has just announced that it is now open for nominations to its leadership contest. Applicants need not support Brexit, democracy or even be British.

    • Royinsouthwest

      UKIP must be sooo behind the times. Look at the trio running the Labour Party. Do their three bodies have a single patriotic bone between them?

  • CliveM

    There is something about the phrase ‘practicing Christian ‘ that does seem odd. You might say ‘practicing Anglican’ but surely not practicing Christian. It does suggest a mistake.

    • Anton

      I saw a documentary about vets once in which a cat walked past the camera. “That’s the practice cat” said one vet, a comment I found more alarming than reassuring.

      • Martin

        Anton

        My local vet has a cat present in it’s reception. I believe it guards the place at night.

        • Anton

          The cat is up to it!

    • The verb is practising and the noun practicing.

  • Hmm … worth requesting an information pack which will include a copy of the Person Specification. Perhaps one can be an atheist.

  • Royinsouthwest

    When I read the article I did think that the job might attract you. I’m sure that some of the regular readers of this blog, perhaps even the Inspector, would provide references.

    • Inspector General

      “To whom it may concern at the diocese”

      “Re Character Reference – Sarcastic Thing”

      “Be assured, that on this man’s demise, no less a personage than Satan himself will be on hand to personally claim his soul”

      Inspector General

      • Sarky

        Ha ha think I’ve got it in the bag!!

        • Royinsouthwest

          Yes, you probably have. I am sure no other candidate has the backing of a referee with such eloquence!

  • jsampson45

    If God’s mission is revealed by the Holy Spirit “through our own listening, praying, thinking and sharing as we respond to our own context”, it does not follow that mission should be done by Christians.

    • Martin

      Actually it does.

      • jsampson45

        How so? The Holy Spirit may have a different approach in our context from that found in Scripture or tradition, which He may reveal through our own listening etc. It is not for us to say, even if we are mighty puzzled.

        • Martin

          So what is your basis for that claim?

          • jsampson45

            I wrote “may have”, not “has”. You may wish to assert that the Holy Spirit does not work that way. This would be an additional premiss. One could then deduce that the candidate has to be a practising Christian.

          • Martin

            I’d like to know on what basis you think that the Holy Spirit would act other than He has declared in Scripture.

          • jsampson45

            Personally I don’t. I had the impression that the diocese did, with their “our own listening” etc. That might explain why they think mission can be taught by a non-Christian.

          • Martin

            Yes, I think the problem lies in the words ‘our own’.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Possibly the vision Peter had of “unclean” animals. That vision did not agree with what Peter, and all other Jews, had been brought up to believe.

          • Martin

            Roy

            So show me in Scripture the change you are relying on.

          • Royinsouthwest

            But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.

            John 16:13

            Wilberforce and many of his associates in the campaign against the slave trade were evangelical Christians. Didn’t they have the guidance of the Holy Spirit? After all, the New Testament does not explicitly condemn slavery but you can claim that it does so implicitly.

            How Paul Worked to Overcome Slavery
            http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-paul-worked-to-overcome-slavery

            Peter’s vision of unclean animals, which taught him something about gentiles that he had not learnt from the Old Testament, is, of course, described in Acts 10:9-16.

          • Martin

            Roy

            The campaign against slavery was inspired by the Holy Spirit who works through God’s people. How is this relevant to appointing a non Christian for this post?

          • Royinsouthwest

            It is not relevant and I am against appointing a non-Christian to the post. I simply made my comments in support of a comment by jsampson45 who pointed out that it is no use simply relying just on our interpretation of scripture. The risk of erroneous interpretations is greatly increased if we are deaf to the Holy Spirit.

  • Martin

    But isn’t this the nature of most of the CoE’s leadership?

    “unrepentant, unbelieving, disobedient, unregenerate, un-discipled, unabiding and prayerless”

    Justin may proclaim the importance of prayer but by his failure to discipline (a word from which disciple is derived) the church; to allow sexual immorality to reign; to be directly disobedient to God’s command that women should not be in leadership; he is failing as are all his fellow ‘bishops’

    It beats me why Christians remain in an organisation that has seceded from Christ’s Church!

    • Anton

      There’s only one Justin Martyr.

      • Martin

        Anton

        His parents were prescient. But the Justin I was referring to doesn’t seem of the same cloth.

        • Anton

          Justin Case.

  • len

    Jesus told His disciples not to go out and preach until they had been baptised by the Holy Spirit.

    ‘I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”(Luke 24:49)

    No wonder the Church has become an irrelevance to many as many powerless preachers go out and fail dismally (as Jesus knew they would)

    • I don’t know, I’ve heard a lot of powerful preachers in the church, they just aren’t preaching the Gospel…

      • len

        The Gospel is the Wisdom and the Power of God.
        I mean (an extreme example I know), but Hitler was a powerful speaker.

        • I realise, that was the parallel I was drawing 🙂

          • len

            Agreed 😉

  • Sarky

    Farrons just quit, couldn’t reconcile his faith with politics!

    • Anton

      He’s now fit to be a party leader, ironically.

      • Peasant Farmer

        He’s in good company with St Peter and I suspect has saved his soul into the bargain.

  • Point of clarification: What is a “practising Christian”? Because one is not a member of a church denomination, let alone the Anglican Church, does it follow one is not a “Christian”?

    • len

      No that’s just your lot Jack.

      • Jack believes in all the clauses of the Nicene Creed. Is he a “practising Christian” if he follows the commands of Christ and has been reborn?

        • CliveM

          How can someone be a non practising Christian?

          • Good point.

          • Anton

            In solitary confinement for their faith, as Richard Wurmbrand was.

          • CliveM

            You are still a witness even if only to the guards and you can still pray. I don’t accept their is such a thing.

          • Anton

            Well yes, Wurmbrand said that he preached to the angels.

    • dannybhoy

      The term ‘practising Christian’ is used to distinguish from “the Silent Majority” type of Christian, or “the Nominal Three Times a Year Christian”, or even the “Christian plus something else” type of believer..
      You for example might be “a practising Catholic Christian type who also worships Mary.”
      Not saying you are, but for the purposes of illustration…

      • No Catholic worships Mary – just saying.

        It really depends what the term “practising Christian” means. It doesn’t necessarily mean one has rejected Jesus or the Gospel. Take Len, for example. (Please take him). He’s in no denomination and doesn’t attend collective worship. Is he a “practising Christian”?

        • dannybhoy

          Of course he is! In fact he and some others here are people I would recognise and happily fellowship* with as ‘practising Christians’.
          *Fellowship meaning worship, prayer, bible study and breaking of bread on a Sunday morning.
          The thing is that the Catholics and the CofE (that rebellious daughter of Rome) have added on to the Biblical/New Testament faith practices and ceremonies that have no Biblical rooting.
          In some ways that doesn’t matter, because the essence of the faith is Repentance/Forgiveness/New life in Christ and the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
          What church you feel comfortable in is a personal thing, as long as you keep the Lord Jesus Christ central in your life at all times.
          For example the wife and I have just enjoyed three lovely weeks in France, and there are two things we always do. One is we always visit the war cemeteries of any kind to pay our respects to the fallen, and two, we always visit churches.
          Now this visit we lit votive candles for the first time, on two separate occasions.
          We lit them not for Mary or the authority of the Catholic Church, but because we recognise the devotion and worship of God and his Son our Saviour over hundreds and hundreds of years.
          We sometimes roam Catholic cemeteries in reflection of the people buried there, those who were loved and were tended by their loved ones, and now the loved ones have passed on.
          We were particularly moved by atmosphere of the Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Vendome, and all being well we will return for a more extensive visit.
          https://frenchmoments.eu/vendome-abbey/

  • Peasant Farmer

    Meanwhile I see like the historical Cranmer, Tim Farron has recanted his recantation on same sex marriage.

    I feel for him, I suspect he has struggled a great deal over it, but has ultimately come to the conclusion that his faith is more important than his career.

    • John

      As the 2016 Nobel Laureate for literature wisely noted, ‘You’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil and it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.’

      • Good lyrics on the album but not Dylan’s finest hour.

    • dannybhoy

      They (LBC) replayed that interview again this morning.
      I wonder how we as individuals would have dealt with the question?
      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/02/tim-farron-again-refuses-to-say-whether-homosexuality-is-a-sin-lgbt-rights

      • Peasant Farmer

        Not well.

        I genuinely find it difficult. My conservative instincts tell me that what other people get up to in their own bedrooms is their business. But they also tell me that completely changing the nature of Christian marriage will be a disaster for society.

        The gay friends we have are genuinely lovely people, in fact their compassion and generosity shames many conservative Christians I know, and yet, and yet…..

        • dannybhoy

          I love honesty, coupled with a desire to see and understand all sides of an issue..
          We are not defined by our sexuality, but by what is in our hearts.

          “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
          whose trust is the Lord.
          8 He is like a tree planted by water,
          that sends out its roots by the stream,
          and does not fear when heat comes,
          for its leaves remain green,
          and is not anxious in the year of drought,
          for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
          9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
          and desperately corrupt;
          who can understand it?
          10 “I the Lord search the mind
          and try the heart,
          to give every man according to his ways,
          according to the fruit of his doings.”
          Jeremiah 17 (RSVCE)

          What the Gospel highlights is not whether we are heterosexual or homosexual, intelligent or dim, observant or uncaring, but that we all fall short of God’s standard as human beings. He rightfully judges us as sinners so that we might qualify for salvation, and be renewed through Christ our Saviour and high priest.
          So the issue is…
          ” But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.For there is no distinction; 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.”
          Romans 3. (RSVCE)

  • Sarky

    Got my application in. Anyone up for giving me interview tips?

    • Martin

      Don’t mention the Bible.

      • Sarky

        Thought that was ‘the war’?

    • The Person Specification requires: “A person who shares our values”. You should be fine. Just be yourself.

    • dannybhoy

      Just be yourself.
      Er, on second thoughts….

    • len

      Just be yourself. That’s all they want I think?

    • Wear a burka and claim to be transitioning.

    • Chefofsinners

      If you were offered this job, would you accept it?

      • dannybhoy

        He fits all the criteria…..

    • Hi

      Maybe this song will help :

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ryWVRS4aehM

    • David

      Polish your shoes, yak yak “management speak”, smile loads and ooze empathy. Oh, one more thing, leave your principles outside.

      • michaelkx

        that should do it, you have the job.

  • Chefofsinners

    Ideal new job for Tim Farron.

    • Nah … he’s regards homosexual behaviour as a sin and is opposed to abortion. Being a “progressive liberal” and not wanting to impose one’s views on others is insufficient.

      • Mike Stallard

        Let us remind ourselves, shall we, of the Christian message about sex and all that:
        1. Divorce is wrong. Anyone who marries a divorce(e) commits adultery.
        2. Looking at a woman to lust after her is wrong. It is better to pull your eye out than to burn.
        3. Anyone who hurts a child is wrong, it would be better if they had a millstone round their neck and were thrown into the sea.
        4. – oh yes, sex outside marriage is wrong too – and that includes gay sex, naturally.
        5. Marriage is between a man and a woman: the two become one flesh.

        • Anton

          Would you change (1) to “Anyone who marries a divorced person during the lifetime of his or her spouse…”

          • Chefofsinners

            I would. And I would add that a divorcee who has been divorced against their will by their spouse is free to remarry. And a divorcee against whom adultery has been committed so long as they did not commit adultery. And also a person who has divorced and remarried before becoming a Christian should not be required to divorce the new spouse. Clear?

          • Anton

            Clear, but arguable.

        • James M

          Which makes one wonder how the ABC who presided over Charlie Windsor’s adulterous splicing to his current “wife” could sleep at night. Talk about moral cowardice.

  • David

    Tim Farron has won my respect for the very first time. Good for him !
    He has saved his soul.

    • Peasant Farmer

      From his statement in the Spectator:

      ‘Imagine how proud I am to lead this party. And then imagine what would lead me to voluntarily relinquish that honour. In the words of Isaac Watts it would have to be something ‘so amazing, so divine, (it) demands my heart, my life, my all’.

      Full link:

      https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/tim-farron-choose-christianity-leading-lib-dems/

    • Chefofsinners

      Likewise.
      I am reminded of the words concerning Lot, which we had to wait 2000 years to hear in 2 Peter:
      “That righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul.”

    • Like the chap in Tale of two Cities.
      ‘It is a far, far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before.’

    • Manfarang

      “There are Christians in politics who take the view that they should impose the tenets of faith on society, but I have not taken that approach because I disagree with it – it’s not liberal and it is counterproductive when it comes to advancing the gospel.” Tim Farron

      • Anton

        A Christian in politics should not advocate for Christianity to be enforced by law. Apart from anything else it’s impossible, because enforced Christianity ceases to be genuine Christianity. But a Christian in politics should certainly advocate for moral laws. (A template for moral laws exists in the Bible.) Farron is saying that it is not possible to do that in the LibDems. To their shame, not his.

        Brian Paddick’s resignation was apparently part of the attack on Farron within the LibDems. What is this man doing with a peerage?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Paddick,_Baron_Paddick

        • Linus

          “What is this man doing with a peerage?”

          Polishing his baron’s balls, the better to take potshots at naive and incompetent Christian party leaders.

          It’s a weighty thing, a baron’s coronet. Those plated brass balls around the rim pack quite a punch if you get your target right between the eyes. Paddick is clearly an excellent shot.

          Bravo Lord Plod! Clearly the distribution of peerages to those whom Christianity has plagued and persecuted for hundreds of years is a winning strategy. Now if only the Jewish peers would do their bit, we might be able to banish Christians from government altogether.

          • Anton

            I have no problem with disestablishment. But if Christians as individuals are to be hounded out of politics then it is a shame for the nation.

          • magnolia

            Not just a shame but totalitarian.

          • Linus

            A shame? That depends on your point of view.

          • Anton

            It does indeed: we agree about that.

        • Manfarang

          The Church of England must be disestablished, as you say Christianity is not to be enforced by law. The Upper Chamber should be elected if it isn’t abolished.

      • John

        It’s not about imposing tenets of the faith. No one is forced to agree. It’s about commending ideas that are good for individuals, good for children, and make for a healthy society, and opposing from a biblical standpoint legislation that leads to broken lives, messed up families and a society under condemnation. That is salt and light. Advancing a liberal ‘progressive’ agenda is sugar and darkness.

        • Manfarang

          I am sure there are those who would commend ideas that are good from Buddhism, peace and harmony and all that.

  • Hi

    Farron has gone. Liberal “tolerant” listen to all sides democrats being liberal and tolerant….

    • Royinsouthwest

      They are very tolerant of those who agree with them about everything.

    • Linus

      To tolerate intolerance is to cease to be tolerant, therefore tolerance by its very definition cannot tolerate intolerance.

  • grutchyngfysch

    At what point will Anglicans wake up and realise that a not insignificant portion of their membership and clergy are functionally enemies of the Gospel?

    • Isn’t it the same in all Churches? It starts with the leadership.

      • grutchyngfysch

        Can only speak to what I know but while I certainly agree that there are always wolves seeking to get among the sheep and more than a few sheep who seem to spend an inordinate amount of time sharpening their teeth, not all are equally infested. Part of it, I think, is structural. I can think of plenty of dodgy Methodists, several iffy Baptists and more than the odd Prebyterian but all three have the virtue that the rot tends to go as far as the local church body.

        From what I’ve seen of at least two of the national leaderships of the aforementioned there’s the same high-flying heresy struck through the top end but it tends to have limited impact on local churches due to the structure. The CofE is structurally a church which assumes strong Episcopal leadership. In practice even when the leadership isn’t rotten through it tends not to be strong. That leads to the rot spreading more easily in my view. Dodgy priests who ought to have long ago been quietly but firmly asked just what they do actually believe in are instead permitted to bumble (or rumble depending on how left wing their politics is) along. The effect of this on faithful congregations cannot be underestimated: I’ve watched a couple that used to be pretty sound go bad through the combined effect of trite and liberal theology driving away those who actually expect to be fed with the Word while the rest gradually slumber into the sound of the lapping waves about their feet.

        In denominations where the laity takes a more direct role in holding ministers to account this only tends to happen where the congregation is already well established as a synagogue of Satan. Likewise my African friends assure me that where there is strong Episcopal leadership it isn’t anything of an issue either (they have other troubles, mostly around money).

        • Mike Stallard

          “The CofE is structurally a church which assumes strong Episcopal leadership.”
          My grandfather was a CoE Vicar in the 1930s. Once – and only once – he went to Norwich when summoned for a meeting. He took the train – several hours’ travel in those days. He arrived bang on time in full dress uniform. He was handed a pre wrapped sandwich and told to wait. The meeting went badly. He returned, tired and hungry in the evening.
          The Bishop once, in his top hat, took the Evensong and gave the blessing at the end. One of the several curates did a sketch of him kneeling reverently before the altar, upon which he had reverently placed the top hat, which was surmounted by the Collection plate.
          The net effect was of a silly old man worshipping money.
          In those days, Bishops kept well away form the Parson – who had security of tenure and his own private Vicarage.

          • Maalaistollo

            A former rector in our parish had a simple way of dealing with the endless tide of bumf issued by the diocese. He simply binned it, arguing that if they really wanted him to respond they’d chase him up. Seemed to work for him.

          • Mike Stallard

            But would a “priest in charge” have the same security of tenure?

          • grutchyngfysch

            While the content of present day messes was largely cultivated over the last 60 years there’s been a long streak of comfortable disbelief in the CofE for much longer than just the last century. Ironically a lot of that was a reaction to a far more nasty CofE (now largely forgotten by its hagiographers) which had as it’s idol the same love of institution and the same spirit of prostitution to worldly politics but worked out through persecution of nonconformists and Catholics.

          • Mike Stallard

            On Jeremy Kyle a couple of days back, an enormous Welshman who had impregnated his very pretty fiancee swore every other word and was a complete yobbo. Eventually he just walked off the stage dwarfing the three bouncers who were escorting him.
            I thought, “Now I understand Henry VIII.”

          • Coniston

            You watch Jeremy Kyle???

        • It’s very much the same in the Roman Catholic Church, especially since Vatican II and the abolition of the “Oath against Modernity”. Popes John Paul and Benedict attempted to reintroduce more discipline in the Church concerning dogma and doctrine but appointed some seriously dubious bishops. Jack believes in the Episcopacy exercising strong leadership and protecting the laity from heterodoxy. Having said that, the laity have a significant role in ensuring local priests are on message too.

      • Mike Stallard

        …and the leadership is?

        • The bishops who have succeeded the Apostles and who carry the authority given by Christ to lead and feed His flock …. naturally.

          • Anton

            The church is led by Jesus Christ, of course.

          • Mike Stallard

            When it isn’t led by Jesus Christ and is no longer His body, then it is simply not the church. That is very easy to say. I know myself how very hard it is to know exactly what I am being called to do and I often get it wrong.
            I would guess that most bishops are the same.

          • Through the bishops … of course.

          • Anton

            Rather through the Holy Spirit, of course.

          • Who Jesus promised would guide His bishops into all truth, of course.

  • Judas was Paid

    Well the libdems will be seeking a new leader…..not necessarily liberal. The Conservative party has one who is not conservative. Labour has one who has never had a proper job in his life.

    • Manfarang

      Maybe the new Liberal Democrat leader will be a social democrat.

  • Chefofsinners

    WANTED
    New church for England.
    Reports to: Editor of the Guardian.
    Salary: £wages of sin

    Beelzebub inc. is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applicants irrrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion. No Christians or Irish.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Gosh! Now Sarky will have a real dilemma. Should he accept the job in Truro or set his sights on becoming the archbishop of the new Guardian-style Church for England?

      • Sarky

        Can’t i do both?

        • magnolia

          Well George Osborne could, and half a dozen other jobs as well.
          And that’s just a long weekend slot!

          • Anton

            Yes, but not very well.

        • Chefofsinners

          You have all the skills you will need. None.

          • Sarky

            Ooh harsh.

  • Grammar lesson.

    • Pubcrawler

      Spelling.

  • Mike Stallard

    Well now.
    How can a politician be in charge of developing the health service if he has never seen a wound, never had to tell a young Mum that her baby is dead, never wiped a bottom?
    How can a woman who has not been inside a classroom for decades run an education service when she is years and years out of date and when there were totally different challenges when she was a girl at a rather posh school and thence to Oxbridge? What does she know about the inside of a London Comp in 2017?
    Management is not a separate subject which entitles people, through exams, even in a mediaeval Oxford college, to dominate and speak nonsense and take home enormous salaries and be respected throughout the TV land. Management is done by people who know, at first hand, what is needed. Sort of like the incarnation really…

    • Anton

      Yes. Which is why “management consultancy” is complete bullshit. They don’t take financial responsibility for their advice – just a fat fee – and they don’t have in-depth knowledge of the market that a client company is in. There will be patterns generic to failing companies that they can spot, and they provide an excuse to sack bad managers, but by and large it is a nonsense.

      • CliveM

        Consultancy is a scam. I’ll give you another example. They get to define how a saving is achieved, they then ‘identify’ where the saving is and take their cut. Note no saving has yet been achieved. That is left to a company employee. If the employee fails to achieve the saving, tough. The consultancy doesn’t care or lose. A large part of identified savings aren’t real anyway. For example ‘inter group’ spend within big companies. These can be targeted for ‘savings ‘. But note the group as a whole won’t save a penny, but the consultant gets his cut.

        Unbelievable!

        • Maalaistollo

          I was once told that a consultant is someone who can tell you a hundred different ways to make love to a woman, but has no girlfriend.

          • CliveM

            Like it.

          • layreader

            A consultant is one who you can blame when things go wrong. Worth it for the large fees he charges. Whether he is competent or not, he’s insured against it.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I agree with your criticisms of management theory but think you go too far with regards to experience. Should only former soldiers be put in charge of the Ministry of Defence? Who in the Cabinet should be in charge of transport policy? A former bus driver, a car park warden, an airline pilot, an engineer who designed bridges, a cyclist …? As for education I would rather have a minister who knows something about education policies in countries with a very high standard of education than someone who assumes that nothing much can be expected from children attending a typical London comprehensive school.

  • michaelkx

    “You do not need to be a practising Christian” just about sums up the C of E these days. what say you.?

    • magnolia

      Having heard people in church saying that they don’t like the way preachers will insist on preaching about the Trinity on Trinity Sunday I am left a little nonplussed at some of the prevailing state of cheery ignorance even among seasoned churchgoers.

      • michaelkx

        it is sad to see them wondering down the broad path, perhaps I had better have reality check on my own path…….

  • Chefofsinners

    If it is not possible to be a Christian and lead a political party, how can it be possible to not be a Christian and lead church mission? Tim Farron has discovered that he cannot serve two masters. I wonder why the CoE can’t understand this?

    Of course, Farron’s resignation and the reasons for it are being glossed over by an awkward and embarrassed media. He helped them somewhat by make by his announcement on a big news day.
    However, this raises fundamental issues about faith in our society. And: if you can’t be a Christian and lead a political party, where does that leave Theresa May?

    • Anton

      She answered that question when she was asked whether she believed homosexuality is a sin.

      • Chefofsinners

        We thought Farron had answered it,

    • dannybhoy

      Isn’t the real question whether “A committed/devout/practicing/born again Christian” can in a democratic, amoral, secular humanistic society, lead a political party?”
      I think the answer is,
      “No.”

  • Linus

    What’s so surprising about this?

    You don’t have to love Mickey Mouse to work for Disney.

    When you work for a theme park or any similar kind of business (like a religion) that peddles an imaginary world to the naive and the gullible, you don’t need to fall for the fantasy in order to sell it.

    Your problem is that you believe your own propaganda. Considering how batshit crazy it is (invisible sky fairies, the dead coming back to life, etc), your gullibility levels have to be off the scale. This means the available pool of skills and competencies that could actually run things is tiny. Naive gullibility and business acumen just don’t go together. No wonder your Church is in such a parlous state.

    In a pre-scientific era when magic and superstition existed side by side with common sense, things were different. Religion was the only show in town, so whether you believed in it or not, you at least had to observe the outward forms. The Church was often the only path to power and influence, so it had a lot of talent to draw on. This is no longer the case, so the talent pool has dried up.

    This fact finally seems to be dawning on your third-rate leadership, so they’re trying to attract talent back in order to turn the situation around.

    I doubt it will work because the best talent won’t be attracted by an organisation full of deluded losers. You might get a few control freaks whose primary objective is to dominate and impose. They may succeed in saving you from utter disaster. But you’ll only ever be a sideshow.

    Your glory days are over. Get used to it.

    • len

      One might say the same to you .
      Your glory days are over. Get used to it

      • magnolia

        And we know our greatest glory days actually await us, individually and as a fellowship of believers, in heaven. Jesus is Risen indeed!

        • len

          Well said !.

    • Anton

      Your view of religion is sooooo Eurocentric.

      • Linus

        Of course it is. I live in Europe. What should I be focusing on? The Philippines? Mozambique?

        Let the Filipinos and the Mozambicans do as they see fit. As their societies progress and develop, science will have exactly the same effect on faith that it’s had here. They’re on the same track, just a little way behind us. It only leads to one destination. And that ain’t Godneyland…

        • Anton

          For someone who thinks prophecy is nonsense you do a lot of it.

          • Linus

            *Sigh*

            We’ve been through this before. I do not speak on behalf of a sky fairy, therefore I do not utter prophecies. I merely examine the past to determine the probable (but not god-ordained) course of the future.

            All the influences that secularised Europe are now at play in the developing world. It’s only a matter of time.

          • Anton

            That’s odd; when I do the same process of inference you call it prophecy.

          • Linus

            *Sigh*

            We’ve been through this before.

            I do not speak on behalf of a sky pixie therefore I make no prophecies.

            I merely examine the past in order to determine the probable course of the future.

            Any claim that I consider myself infallible comes from you, not me. All sorts of variables make predicting the future an inexact business. But I get it right far more often than I get it wrong. This makes my predictions more accurate than the gibberings of Christian prophets giving voice to their own prejudices, hatreds and desires and then claiming it’s the will of their sky pixie.

            Truly these things almost never come to pass, neither before nor after the present generation has passed away.

            “Christ will come again” remains the great unfulfilled prophecy of Christianity that will probably endure as long as there are people stupid enough to believe it. It requires no proof because if it doesn’t happen today, it can always be pushed off until tomorrow. Again and again.

            In comparison my prediction of economic decline for Britain has a sell-by date. If within a maximum of 5 years following Britain’s departure, the signs of economic decline are not clearly apparent, I will have been proved wrong. I can face this prospect with equanimity because my prediction carries no claim of infallibility.

            But what if Christ never comes?

          • Anton

            Your predictions of the future most certainly do carry a claim of infallibility because you repeatedly say that something “will” happen, not that it is likely to happen, when you can’t possibly know.

            On the economics front, I reckon both the EU and the UK will be stuffed by debt.

          • Linus

            Will is the modal used to indicate certain or likely future action.

            When there is distinct uncertainty regarding the completion of a future action, you can substitute may or might for will. But when the outcome is deemed highly likely, it is more usual to use will.

            This does not express a belief in infallible knowledge of what the future will certainly bring, but rather an opinion that the action described is extremely likely to take place.

            Complete certainty can only be expressed by qualifying the verb using an adverb of emphasis (like certainly), or by placing emphasis on the modal will, ie. by underlining it, or using bold or italic print.

            In the absence of such emphasis, will carries no claim of infallibility.

            I’m used to the British speaking their own language poorly, but in this case I suspect there are other forces at work.

            Most British Christians, though exhibiting all of the rigidity of dogmatic thinkers, still manage to exhibit enough flexibility in their speech to use future forms more or less correctly.

            The assumption must therefore be that either 1) you are not British born, or 2) that your formative years were spent somewhere other than in Britain.

            Were I to hazard a guess, I might (modal of doubt or supposition) say South Africa, or possibly even Germany. Was your father in the Forces? Were you raised by Afrikaans or German-speaking parents or grandparents?

            Something isn’t quite right. If I could talk to you I’d sniff it out immediately, but deconstructing written expression is more difficult.

            So is it Bloemfontein or Bremen, Jo’burg or Jena? Or is some other foreign influence at play? Not that I’m particularly interested, of course. But whatever it is, it certainly adds to the overall impression of rigid dogmatism that I’ve come to expect from you.

    • Inspector General

      The church is not a business, if it was, it would be taxed as one. It’s not a charity either. It holds a quite unique position in society. It can be criticised, parts of it, that seem to be operating like a private members club, with temporal concerns being held in greater esteem than spiritual guidance. For example, corrupting marriage. But in time, and when social media pressure is seen as the bullying thug it is, that will be corrected.

    • Royinsouthwest

      If you join a rugby league team then you cannot decide in the middle of a game that in the particular situation you find yourself in it would be advantageous to follow the rules of rugby union. Anyone who wants to play union can join a rugby union team just as those who want to play the league version of the game can join a rugby league team. Any rugby player who wants to wear a helmet, lots of padding and wants to be able to throw the ball forward can try his luck at American football.

    • Chefofsinners

      “A few control freaks whose primary objective is to dominate and impose”
      Thinking of applying?

      • Linus

        Associate myself with failure and decline?

        It isn’t going to happen. I have a reputation to maintain.

        • Chefofsinners

          Indeed you do.

        • Martin

          Linus

          Sounds like you’re a natural, typecast indeed.

  • len

    Perhaps the problem with ‘the church’ is it has too many leaders who are actually un- believers.
    Perhaps the problem is’ the Church’ itself.
    Jesus didn`t come to offer us’ a church’ or a ‘new religion’.
    When men got hold of the Gospel of Jesus Christ they turned it into something it was never intended to be.Man created a religion.Men cobbled together a set of rules, various religious observances, traditions, and dogmas.The religious illusion is if you recite the correct prayers then you were in the club and had purchased a ticket to heaven. Man likes religion because it gives him the illusion of having power over his own destiny.

    The Gospel of…. Jesus Christ is the good news about……. Jesus Christ.
    Eternal Life is IN Christ.
    Jesus Christ gives His Life to those who would follow Him.

    ‘The church’ cannot save anyone .

    The church is a nice place to meet though. (mostly)

    • James M

      A very good point. Maybe the Churches should drop infant baptism, and baptise only adult believers. Otherwise one ends up with the ridiculous, scandalous, and shameful spectacle of Churches made up largely – and who can say how largely ? – of “believers” who are atheists, agnostics, or some other kind of unbeliever. Unbelievers cannot spread a faith in Jesus Christ that they do not have. To expect the Church’s mission to be carried out by those to whom it means nothing, is retarded.

      It would be far better for the Churches to be poor, but faith-filled and fruitful for Christ, than for them to have millions of £££ of property that entangles their hearts and hinders their effectiveness. Far better to shed the unbelieving millions, shrink greatly, sacrifice vast amounts of property, and be free in heart to serve Christ faithfully, than carry on with the current set-up. It cannot continue.

  • Dominic Stockford

    A complete disgrace. Jesus weeps.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    Loved the point about the Guardian. Too true!!

  • Anton

    No; one hedge is enough and I said “I reckon”, not “I predict”.

  • Anna055

    I have a friend who works for a Methodist missionary society – the majority of the people working there, including some of the pastoral staff are not Christians. It has happened increasingly since the non discrimination rules. You have to be able to say that it is a “genuine occupational requirement” in order to be able to advertise for a Christian. Crazy! However I would have thought that being a Christian would have come under the “genuine occupational requirement” rule for this job anyway. Trouble is, once you get non Christian admin (not a “genuine occupational requirement” to be a Christian) then they see things rather differently when they are responsible for the advertising for more crucial jobs. I wonder if this is what has happened here.

  • James M

    How long before there is a Muslim, or a “bi-religious”, Abp of Canterbury ? Only a generation or two, I fear 🙁

    It is child’s play to guess what totally spurious “justification” will be dreamed up to support one or both of those possibilities.