Welby: Church needs to avoid drifting to divorce

30 August 2013

EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE

"Agenda": Archbishop Welby speaks at the EA launch

"Agenda": Archbishop Welby speaks at the EA launch

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."

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