Ruth Gledhill’s article on the front page of today’s Times, suggesting that the church is in meltdown due to Women Bishops and gay marriage, continues to demonstrate that matters of religion, faith and the church are still of importance in our society. A space on the front page and two full inside pages are not given lightly and although we might wish that it was a more positive story about the gospel, the very fact that we are considered worth reporting is good news.
Can we turn this to our advantage? The questions facing the Church of England are deep and in many ways intractable. They are about how we understand God – how he works, how he reveals himself and whether his changelessness can accommodate changes in our understanding of what it is to be human.
To me the deepest question is whether we can forgive each other for understanding God differently. We are like rival siblings angry with each other for finding different truths in our parents. The family will fall apart unless we can forgive each other for the sin of loving different attributes about God and coming to different conclusions about his revelation in Jesus.
Forgiveness is supposed to be fundamental to our character as Christians – as we wrestle with deep questions within our faith, we will only come through as the family of God’s people if we bring the grace of forgiveness into our debates.
‘Church survives through forgiveness’ would be a great headline and a witness to the world.