Thursday, 9 June 2011


There would appear to be a three-fold irony in the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, guest-editing today's edition of the left-wing magazine the New Statesman.

1). Back in 2009 the magazine was guest-edited by Alastair Campbell, the head of communications for former New Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair. It was under Mr Blair's premiership that Dr Williams was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002.

2). Today's issue is a broad church featuring articles by Mr Blair's successor as Prime Minister Gordon Brown; the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks; the atheist novelist Philip Pullman; and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. Such a diversity of opinion makes for interesting reading in a secular magazine. But an intellectual penchant for embracing contradictory opinions on Christian faith and morals does not make for coherent leadership of a national Church charged with bringing the biblical gospel to the nation.

3). According to the the anonymous liberal Anglican blog the Church Mouse:
A lovely touch comes in Mehdi Hassan's article on sharia law. Hassan asks why the British are so obsessed with it, saying "It’s time to lay the sharia bogeyman to rest". Mouse is sure Rowan was delighted with that.

The irony here is that it was Dr Williams's comment in 2008 about the inevitability of certain aspects of sharia law being adopted in the UK that caused such consternation in parts of the Anglican Communion suffering Islamist persecution, such as Nigeria. Nigerian Anglicans argue that the absolutist, theocratic nature of Islam means that once secular governments give the softer aspects of sharia law legal recognition they open the door to the incremental imposition of the more brutal aspects.

It would certainly not be a lovely touch if sharia law were adopted in parts of the UK where Muslims who convert to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ are already suffering violent intimidation.

Sadly, this foray into magazine editing reveals precisely the fault-lines in Dr Williams's archbishopric.


  1. The Church Mouse is liberal? I'd be interested to know on what basis you make that judgement. To me he seems to believe all the articles of the traditional Christian faith as expressed in the creeds, to believe in evangelism and church growth, and to love the Bible. But maybe I'm reading him wrong.

  2. Tim - WRT the mouse, read the blog and see where the mouse departs from the orthodox, traditional, teachings of the Church. He's probably just a bit off to the liberal of centre, but that still makes him liberal.

    Julian - thank you for your consistent and sound content.