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Lambeth Conferences’ record on war

by
12 October 2011

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From Mrs Mary P. Roe

Sir, — The Revd David Vannerley (Letters, 7 October) concludes “that any appeal to the Conference resolutions as being authoritative is ultimately doomed”.

From my own review of Conference resolutions on the Christian approach to warfare, undertaken for the 2008 Conference, it seems to me that the Church’s policy and practice are more likely to head off in the opposite direction from any aspirational goals of Lambeth resolutions.

In 1930, Resolution 25 states: “War as a method of settling international disputes is incompat­ible with the teaching and example of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Through­out the 1930s, wealthier Anglicans joined the stampede to withdraw their investments from British industries, such as coal and cotton, in favour of the German armaments-manufacturer Krupps of Essen.

The next Conference to be held was in 1948, when Resolution 9 repeated, word for word, the 1930 Resolution 25, and Resolution 10 sought to effect the control and final elimination of armaments of every kind. . . Then followed the Korean War.

In 1958, the Conference devoted several resolutions to aspects of warfare (Resolutions 100ff.), including Resolution 106, “The Conference reaffirms that war as a method [etc.] . . . and declares that nothing less than the abolition of war itself should be the goal of the nations. . .”

The same resolutions were “reaffirmed” in 1968, “affirmed again” in 1978, and “reaffirmed” again in 1988.

By 1998, the Conference was clearly becoming somewhat embarrassed at the widening gap between theory and practice, and issued a much more long-winded, multi-paragraph Resolution 1.4, still “abhorring the evil of war”, “repudiating and condemning the use of violence for settling . . .”, etc.

It is highly likely that, if a Conference is held in 2018, there will be more reaffirmations along the same lines, but I would advise our servicemen and -women and their families not to hold their breath while they wait for their courage and skills to be put to work for the coming of the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace.

MARY P. ROE
1 The North Lodge
Kings End, Bicester
Oxon OX26 6NT

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