Archbishop of Canterbury predicts "new alignments"—but do orthodox believers want an alternative, or something wholly new?
Much play is being given to a new article by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual head of the Anglican Communion worldwide. In what's being called his "bleakest assessment yet," Williams wrote in an article for the conservative publication New Directions that he doesn't expect "the next few years to be anything other than messy." Especially notable is this paragraph:
I suspect that those who speak of new alignments and new patterns, of the weakening of territorial jurisdiction and the like, are seeing the situation pretty accurately. But what then becomes the danger to avoid is an entirely modern or post-modern map of church identity in which non-communicating and competing entities simply eradicate the very idea of a 'communion' of churches.
Various British newspapers try to discern his meaning. Says The Telegraph, "He hints that he is prepared to see the creation of a Church-within-a-Church to allow liberals and traditionalists to co-exist. Previously this has been ruled out as too radical."
The Guardian sees the situation as much more dire, titling its article "Archbishop dares to speak its name: the breakup of the Anglican church." The paper complains of Williams' "customary opacity," and says its interpretation is varied:
The journal, published by a group which a decade ago opposed the ordination of women but ultimately did not leave the church, may have been chosen as a means of preaching to would-be splitters. Or, as some at Lambeth believe, it may have just been an opportunity that presented itself to the unworldly archbishop. He is understood not to have consulted staff before writing ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more