THE Archbishop of Canterbury said on Wednesday that the Church
must not become like a marriage in which a couple have drifted
apart and are content with their independent lives.
Speaking at the opening of the Evangelical Alliance's (EA) new
headquarters in King's Cross, London, Archbishop Welby said: "It is
too easy for the Church to be comfortable in separation, like a bad
marriage where the couple has drifted apart, but not to the point
where they'll divorce. They just sort of somehow live separate
lives in the same house; they don't talk much except what's
necessary to keep things running along. And they may not even
notice that the separation is growing and deepening, but they live
with it. And the Church can fall into that trap - in fact, over
many years, has fallen into that trap."
Archbishop Welby called for organisations such as the EA "to be
those . . . who wake us out of any comfort in disunity, because
visible disunity is contrary to the expressed will, calling,
purpose, and command of God."
During a Q&A after his address, Archbishop Welby reiterated
his opposition to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, but said:
"The Church has not been good at dealing with homophobia. And we
have to be really, really repentant about that because it's utterly
and totally wrong. . .
"We have seen changes in the idea about sexuality, sexual
behaviour, which quite simply [mean that] we have to face the fact
that the vast majority of people under 35 think not only that what
we are saying is incomprehensible, but also think that we are plain
wrong and wicked and equate it to racism and other forms of gross
and atrocious injustice."
Earlier on in his address, speaking as "an Evangelical in
theology" who was "deeply committed to proclaiming the gospel",
Archbishop Welby said that "most Evangelicals . . . aren't very
good at evangelism. . . The black-majority churches just put us to
shame. . . We've slightly lost our nerve about the fact that we
have not just some good news, we have the good news for
society and for the future of this world."
The Church had a tendency to "come across too easily as
negative", he said. "We deal in a secular world where it is assumed
the Church has an agenda when we start offering our help to
Government. We need to show that we do have an agenda: it's to love
the society in which we live, and to bless it in every way that we
possibly can. . .
"It's not that things get a bit better, it's that the world is
turned upside down and there is justice and we see God at work. . .
Jesus changes people and, because he changes people, he changes
societies . . . and our world is changed."