Am I a heretic?

by
25 January 2019

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers given below.

iStock

I am a regular churchgoer. I do not believe in Original Sin, the Virgin birth, or that Jesus died to atone for the sins of the world, or in his bodily resurrection. Am I a heretic, or are these views more generally accepted than acknowledged?

Your answers: My experience as a parish priest for more than 40 years leads me to think that many more people have questions and doubts about Original Sin, the Virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus than you might think.

The Church of England does not engage in heresy-hunting (not yet, anyway!). While there are Christians who will be concerned and, maybe, shocked at your doubts, there are, I think, a pretty equal number who will sympathise.

I would suggest that you regard your doubting as a positive, not a negative, force. A true and living faith is defined not by its certainties, but by the questions that it asks. Keep your mind open, and continue asking the hard questions. And rest assured that God loves you for doing so.

(The Revd) Stephen Terry
Hassocks, West Sussex
 

No, you are most certainly not. Yes, your views are much more generally accepted than you might think. You are an honest churchgoer, more courageous than most of us who share your views but keep quiet in church, or no longer attend.

You are a progressive Christian, and there are more of us than you may realise.

“Heretic” is the frightening, fiery word used by those currently in power against those who do not share their beliefs.

Margaret A. Turner
Chesham, Buckinghamshire

Your questions: 

The 1662 post-communion rubric states: “. . . the Priest, and such other of the communicants as he shall then call unto him, shall, immediately after the blessing, reverently eat and drink [the remaining consecrated bread and wine].” Has any of the members of the laity among your readers ever thus been “called”? The timing of the action is also interesting.

A. C. P.

I have retired and don’t need to keep as many clerical shirts as when I was in active ministry. Is there somewhere I can send my shirts (secondhand but in good condition) where they would be put to good use? These are women’s shirts, but there must be men who have surplus shirts, too.

J. F.

In 2018, how many men in the Church of England and in Wales were appointed diocesan bishops, as opposed to suffragan and assistant bishops?

C. C.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.

questions@churchtimes.co.uk

We ask readers not to send us letters for forwarding, and those giving answers to provide full name, address, and, if possible, telephone number.

Latest Cartoon

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read six articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)