Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Bishop Michael Nazir Ali – ‘Enough is Enough’

Two very different interpretations of Bishop Michael Nazir Ali’s resignation have emerged in the British press today.

Melanie Phillips offers a careful assessment based on the facts of Dr Nazir Ali’s ministry and sees it as a shocking indictment of the Church of England that a bishop should have to resign in order to defend the teaching of the Church and its members effectively.

In contrast the Daily Telegraph’s George Pitcher speculates that the bishop mistakenly gambled on GAFCON becoming predominant and his departure signifies its demise as an effective movement in the Anglican Communion. “The traditionalist schism” we are assured “has fizzled out”.

While I have no privileged access to the thinking behind Bishop Nazir Ali’s decision, in retrospect we can see that even some two years ago he gave a strong hint that he might take such action, and for reasons which seem to have totally eluded George Pitcher.

In an address of 2nd April 2007 (subsequently published by Latimer trust as ‘Truth and Unity in Christian Fellowship’, Latimer Briefing 7), well before GAFCON was under consideration, he warned of a point where it would be no longer possible with integrity to work with the grain of the Church of England because of its chronic tendency to capitulate to the surrounding culture. There will come a time when “we will have to say ‘Enough is enough. We need now to bear prophetic witness to the culture around us, to the state, even within the church.’” (Latimer Briefing 7, p12)

It seems that Dr Nazir Ali has himself now come to that point where ‘Enough is enough’. Read more
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2 comments:

Dave said...

I must admit, given the choice between the culture of the 1st-century Mediterranean and modern Britain, I'd much rather capitulate to the latter.

Dave Rattigan, Liverpool

Richard Brown said...

And so thoughts must turn to who will succeed Bishop Michael, also to who will succeed Bishop John in the diocese. Unlike Rochester, which has had only 3 bishops in the last 48 years, Chelmsford has had six, most of whom have come to the diocese to retire, apparently. Isn't it about time we had a leader who wasn't quite so interested in his pension?