Remain or Leave?

Dear Friends,

You may have thought this was yet another article about Brexit; you’re probably relieved to hear that it isn’t.  It is indeed about whether to leave or to remain, but it concerns the Church of England rather than the European Union.  That’s the question that many conservative evangelicals are asking as they see the rising tide of false teaching which seems to go unchallenged: should we remain or should we leave?  Before anyone panics, can I say that I have no intention of leaving?  I am an Anglican by conviction (as well as by conception) and see no reason why I should leave when it is the Church that is leaving me.

But it is increasingly difficult simply to remain without there being some kind of recognisable distancing from the false teachers in the Church.  Paul tells us to “Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17), while John urges us: “do not take them into your house or welcome them” (2 John 10).  The question for us to work out is what that looks like for me as a minister in the Church of England, and for us together as a church in the Church of England.  It won’t be easy to work out and it certainly won’t be easy to do, but it’s not a simple choice of ‘leave’ or ‘remain’, at least not for me.  The question is how we remain with integrity.

Yours warmly, in Christ,

Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)