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Posted on Mon 31 July 2017

3 of 6 - Letters to the Editor: Sins of the Synod

Sins of the Synod

SIR – The Bishop of Norwich (Letters, July 27) tells us that the sources of authority in the Church of England are scripture, tradition and reason. This is so, but they are not on a par nor independent of one another.

Scripture is the norm for tradition, which here means not a Church’s ways of doing things but the living out of scripture in the Church’s life. Reason, according to Richard Hooker the Elizabethan theologian, is the instrument by which we understand and apply the teaching of the Bible in our lives.

Our letter (July 25), to which hundreds have now added signatures, was commenting on the absence of such biblical and ecclesial reasoning at the recent Synod generally, and not only on matters of sexuality on which the bishop’s letter concentrates.

If, however, the bishops are, indeed, preparing a teaching document on sexuality, why then did they not block all motions seeking to preempt what the document may address?

As to welcoming transgender people, everyone should be welcomed to church, but do we need a liturgy to do this? In the Anglican tradition, in particular, lex orandi lex credendi – what you pray is what you believe.

Liturgy declares what we believe. The Church has clear teaching on these matters in the Canons, in previous resolutions of Synod and of the Lambeth Conference. A clear reaffirmation of these would be welcomed by many faithful Anglicans.

Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali

London W1

The Letter was published in The Telegraph on 29 July 2017

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