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Church of England Priest Confessses to posting in Canterbury Cathedral

Church of England Priest Confesses to Posting in Canterbury Cathedral

By Stephen Rae
November 4, 2017

It is with great sadness that I posted the Southwark Declaration in Canterbury Cathedral. This building that stands sentinel over the Church of England has been a symbol of Anglican leadership with, perhaps, the greatest global reach for centuries. Now it has become synonymous with abdication and dereliction of duty; it stands accused as a distracted and negligent parent that has abandoned its children.

The apostle Paul exhorted the Ephesian elders to "pay careful attention to themselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood." The faithful under-shepherd is to guard the flock against the wolves that would seek to enter the fold. Chillingly, there also would be those within who would ascend, "speaking twisted things, to draw away disciples after them." (Acts 20:28-30, ESV)

Each presbyter at his ordination promises to, "be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word; ant to use both publick [sic] and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole, within your cures, as need shall require, and occasion shall be given." We are not merely to assert biblical truth. We who have been entrusted with the precious gospel that speaks life into the hearts of wretched sinners are also called to drive away anything that would lead the flock away and into judgment.

God never calls his people to innovate in matters of first importance. If a leader of the church does this, he has misunderstood his calling. We are to hold out the radically inclusive gospel that leads to repentance and faith. Playing fast and loose with what God really meant when he said what he said never turns out well.

As for me, I will continue to ask those souls entrusted to me to hold me to scriptural account. And now we call upon all leaders of the church in our denomination to stand firm, hold out the gospel of salvation and courageously drive away all that is contrary to God's word.

The Rev. Stephen Rae is Vicar of St. James' Church, Westgate-On-Sea

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