highly-regarded adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury has quit the inner counsels of the Church of England in protest against an “agenda of revisionism” that she says is promoting “an ongoing and rapid erosion of faithfulness”.
Lorna Ashworth resigned from the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod, saying: “We have a liberal agenda because the church is not anchored in the Gospel. There is no more conversation about Heaven, Hell, sin, forgiveness, judgment.”
Her resignation illustrates the fissure in the church between liberals and traditionalists which is now threatening outright schism. The immediate flashpoints are gender and gay issues. Last July, the synod voted to ban sexual conversion therapy and to consider special services for transsexual people. A motion to permit the blessing of same-sex marriages has been submitted for next February’s synod but has yet to be adopted for debate.
This week, the church told its schools that pupils should be able to explore their gender identity and should be “afforded freedom from the expectation of permanence”. This muddled document seems to equate boys dressing up in a tutu and girls in a tool belt with psychological confusion over sexual identity, which is rare. Yet as is happening elsewhere, the church’s guidance risks confirming children in this confusion along ideological “gender” lines, while it denies it can be a disorder at all.
Ashworth’s protest, however, is a far deeper one about the church’s general embrace of secularism. The true message of Christianity, she says, risks being drowned out by people who prefer to discuss social justice because “if we talk about sin, then we have to talk about bad behaviour and people don’t want to be judgmental” ...