Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shock Horror: Anglican Church says 'We believe the Bible'!

Some of last week's papers recorded the shocking story of a church in Sevenoaks, Kent, where a curate (apparently) preached on marriage and the role of women. It was, say the unbiased, godly newspapers, reviled as a medieval sermon - or worse - by many of the women in attendance, some of whom have cancelled their direct debit mandates (I think they mean 'standing orders' - can a church set up a DDM?) And some of the women - and even their husbands (doing as they're told, I suppose) have vowed never to enter the church again.

The church's rector says:

At the heart of all the press coverage is the very ordinary fact that at St Nicholas Sevenoaks, as in many other evangelical churches up and down the country, we engage in an expository preaching ministry which requires both preacher and people to engage humbly with God's word, the Bible.

Radical, eh? Several things are worth noting in the press coverage:

  • first, the press's surprise than anyone should preach on marriage rather than 'giving an uplifting message' as Valentine's Day approaches

  • second, the press's surprise that not everyone believes the liberal media's view of relationships is all it's cracked up to be

  • third, the very careless attitude to truth that the press shows - look at what the Mail says the church did and what the Rector says they didn't do. It ranges from the trivial (the Rector wearing his kilt to church) to inaccuracies at the very heart of the story :
On a different point another strand of headlines speak of the Rector telling women to
be silent and of a leaflet written by him being distributed around the congregation in
January. The reality is that I have written no leaflets, nothing has been distributed
and no-one has ever told women to be silent.

Still, let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story on an otherwise quiet (!) weekend. And let's not notice either that the church is growing - so much so, apparently, that they're having to start another congregation. If only they'd compromise; if only they'd preach what society and the Daily Mail wants them to. Then they could quietly die like other Anglican churches.


Anonymous said...

Listened to the sermon and read the comments in the local rag (Sevenoaks Chronicle) which reported the story so negatively in the first place. They obviously hadn't listened the sermon! In fairness to them, the following week they did print both the rector's response and a letter from lots of women in the congregation who said how they agreed with it.

Personally, I was just waiting for the follow up headline in the Times "Husbands, love your wives" says local vicar....

Gary Benfold said...

You mean they didn't report that one?! Shock, horror - newspaper shows bias towards sensationalism!