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Presidential address

17 July 2015

Sam Atkins

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, used his presidential address to echo St Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to "guard the truth that has been entrusted to him".

"We must therefore keep it and guard it as a solemn trust," he said.

Using a modern-day parable of borrowing Archbishop Justin’s iPad, he said: "What would his reaction be if he came into this hall this evening and found his iPad taken apart, the SIM card cut to pieces, the memory destroyed by a virus, the screen broken, and all the circuitry destroyed?

"Why like that? Because I am doing research and there are bits in it I do not like. He will have every right to be furious.

"What about us? Is that how we handle the Word of God? Stripping it down and leaving it totally ineffective and useless? We are to keep it, obey it, and not sit in judgment over it."

He said that God’s truth had been given to the Church in three realities: "His Word is true, his Son is the truth, and his Spirit is the truth. We need all three if we are to experience true sanctification, a sanctification that touches every part of our inner person. . .

"If you build your Christian life solely on scripture, you will dry up. If you build your Christian life solely on the Holy Spirit, you will blow up. If you build your Christian life on scripture and the Holy Spirit, you will grow up."

Of the Trinity, he said: "It takes all three for a balanced experience of sanctification."

He also urged Christians to remain united: "There is no assurance of his protection if we neglect the fellowship of Christians around us."

Using a visual aid, he tore several single pieces of paper quite easily, before trying — and failing — to tear a book in half.

"The Christian on his own can be torn into two spiritually speedily by Satan, but Christians together are strong to overcome. As Hebrews says: ‘We need to meet together and encourage one another because as the day draws near, Satan will be increasingly active, and the Church must overcome Satan.’"

He said: "The Church in many ways should be like a boat — the ark of God — sailing on the waters. A boat should be in water, but not water in the boat. And in the same way, the Church should be very much in the world, but not the world in the Church."

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