GAFCON – Two Brilliant Talks

There were two excellent talks at GAFCON yesterday.

The first was by Mike Ovey of Oak Hill on “Grace” in the Western World (and there is a transcript here).

The second was by Paul Perkin of St Mark’s Battersea Rise on the state of the Church of England.

8 Comments on “GAFCON – Two Brilliant Talks

    • They’re from the Cost of Conscience survey of clergy called “The Mind of Anglicans”. They’re about a decade out of date but represent the only survey of its kind in the past decade or more, so those who object to the data need to demonstrate with comparable research that the position is other.

      I would love to get my hands on the original dataset.

      • Thanks Peter. That confirms what I suspected. I get the impression that those who ticked “Believe but not sure I understand” rather than “Believe without question” (how many they were I don’t know) will have been counted as those who “doubt or disbelieve” those core doctrines, or simply those who “do not believe” for short. In other words, the impression given could be much worse than the data actually suggest. I have some links and comments here.

        • I think you would need to clarify that notion that “it seems that all except the first box were lumped together as “doubt or disbelieve”, and hence the shocking statistics.” Have you asked the question in the right place?

          • Telegraph: “A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection” – that seems to mean two thirds ticked the first box, and one third ticked the four remaining boxes (not ticking “without question” being interpreted as having doubts). Paul Perkin: “Almost a half [of male clergy] do not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, or in his bodily resurrection, or that he is the only way of salvation. Of female clergy those shocking statistics of unbelief are even, much worse.” He’s claiming that more than “almost a half” of clergy (male & female) not only doubt but disbelieve in the physical Resurrection (i.e., the boxes expressing lack of belief, not just lack of understanding). That’s clearly at odds with the Telegraph summary.

            Frankly, with such a badly worded set of responses it’s dead easy to spin it to sound much worse than it is. “Do not understand” is not the same as “harbour some doubts about”. I believe without question in the doctrine of the Trinity, but I wouldn’t claim to understand it.

      • They might be a decade out of date, but I daresay the situation is worse now than it was then, bearing in mind that clerics of a more orthodox persuasion have been overlooked for preferment for decades in the rush to get women into the episcopacy.

        What is significant about that survey is that those in the more liberal of the spectrum of groups showed significantly lower belief levels than the conservatives, both in doctrine and moral issues. As did women clergy.

        For anybody with the patience, there is a mountain of commentary here (although I don’t know if the raw data is anywhere in that lot!)

  1. Aren’t I right in thinking that there were very few evangelical clergy in the CofE before the 1970s? And that most of those would not have believed in the virgin birth or the unique revelation of Christ?

    So maybe the theological situation – though poor – is not as bad as it was?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.